Officer's Internet Safety Talk Criticized After Sexual Comments

Windsor High School Teen's Photo Given To Inmate, Officer Stated

A police officer giving an Internet safety course sparked criticism for calling student MySpace pages "slutty" and telling one student a sexual predator in prison masturbated to her photo.

Officer John F. Gay III of the Cheyenne Police Department talked to a student assembly at Windsor High School on Tuesday and singled out six or seven student MySpace pages for criticism.

One female student was told by Gay that he shared her online personal info with an state inmate who said he gratified himself with her photo and would "tear her apart."

The student, who was singled out, left the assembly in tears. That's when Gay showed her telephone number that he got from the Internet and called her. He hoped to show how easy it is for anyone to track down someone posting personal information on MySpace or other social-networking sites.

Principal Rick Porter said he had no idea the officer was going present his talk the way he did, or use the language that students said he used. He was aware that Gay was going to use several MySpace pages from students as an example, however.

"I was very disappointed," Porter told the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper. " I am apologizing to everyone who was embarrassed and humiliated, but I do not apologize for the message of Internet safety. It's a very good message."

Gay told 7NEWS he's been volunteering his time to make Internet safety presentations to schools and community groups for about two years. To prepare for a presentation, he typically does a quick search of MySpace to find examples from his audience that he then inserts into his slideshow, he said.

Gay said he doesn't purposely embarrass people. Rather, he said he's drawing attention to the fact that personal information and pictures posted on the Internet can be very public.

"Someone everyday is a victim of an Internet crime," Gay said. "My message must be personal to get them to listen."

Windsor School District Superintendent Karen Trusler said the incident is under review.

"I'm still livid," said Mike Riggs, whose daughter, April Riggs, is a senior at Windsor High. "What happened was absolutely ridiculous. I'm sure there was a way, way better way to do this than that."

Windsor is the town ravaged by a devastating tornado last May.

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