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Web site to warn about predators

Posted: July 17, 2008 1:15 a.m.
Updated: July 17, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 
The fight to oppose self-proclaimed pedophile Jack McClellan has become a battle in cyberspace as concerned mothers take a stand on the Internet.

Since the beginning of the year, McClellan, 45, has repeatedly set up Web sites catering to pedophiles, creating new sites as his existing ones are shut down.

On Thursday, local mother Lena Smyth, wife of Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, and Jane Thompson launched a site of their own called Mothers Against Sexual Predators of California, that seeks to educate parents about child safety and champion legal causes on their behalf.

News of McClellan appearing on television talk shows and the steps taken by others to oppose him, dominated the site's inaugural unveiling.

Smyth and Thompson were present in court Friday when Superior Court Judge Melvin D. Sandvig upheld a statewide restraining order barring McClellan from interacting with children.

"I would have been happy with the county of Los Angeles," said Smyth, commenting on the scope of the restraining order. "But, I'm ecstatic that it's for the state of California."

Friday's court ruling forbids McClellan from being within 30 feet of children and from taking photographs of them and then posting them on the Internet.

McClellan's Web sites featured images of children photographed in public places with recommendations to pedophiles as to how closely supervised the children appeared.

Jane Thompson, says McClellan motivated her to set up her own Web site when she learned her young son was the target of his unwanted attention in Eagle Rock.

"I get hundreds of e-mails. But, this one mom told me about a Web posting in April, saying this guy was moving from Seattle. It sounded serious, so I clicked on the site.

"I wound up at Jack McClellan's Web site and I thought 'What the heck?' He had been at the same family festival and was writing a review, giving four and a half hearts, written as part of his diary. He was saying how 'This festival is 98 percent Latina' and was worried that he stuck out and would be seen GL (girl love) watching."

Thompson said she was shocked to read how he described her son when he described a group of children.

"He said he saw 'several blond cuties dancing at the front of the stage.' Well, he was including my child because there were only four of them. That was enough for me to get motivated. I started entering the shadowy world of chat rooms."

She and Smyth sought out the mothers in Washington state who were also angered to action by McClellan and who launched the Web site, MASP of Washington. The pair say their Washington counterparts were instrumental in forcing McClellan to leave Washington.

About Friday's ruling in favor of a statewide restraining order against McClellan, Thompson said: "When parents organize for social change, good things can happen."

Ron Tebo, a New York father and web designer, says he is being inundated with e-mails, letters and phone calls from people responding to his "anti-Jack" Web site.

Tebo, who runs the site, JackMcClellan.com, as a way of diverting pedophiles away from McClellan, has been appearing on television and radio talk shows to discuss his opposition to McClellan's views on pedophilia.

"I was jubilant, I was happy, I was excited," he said about news of the state-wide restraining order. "Now, children in California will be protected from this man. It puts other pedophiles on notice. This is just a stepping stone.

"We need to make it clear to them that we're going to be watching you."

Smyth and Thompson promise to do exactly that as they continue to develop their Web site.

For more information visit www.maspofcalifornia.org.

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