In 2018, Eugene Police became aware of a report that a man, later identified as Matthew Christopher Kruzich, of Boise, Idaho, was meeting up with juveniles via the social app Grindr to exchange marijuana for sexual acts. The case was assigned to and investigated by a Eugene Police Violent Crimes Detective. Ultimately, the VCU detective arrested Kruzich and he was charged in Circuit Court.
On October 6, 2021, Kruzich, age 53, pled guilty to two counts of Online Sexual Corruption of a Child in the First Degree, two counts of Rape in the Third Degree, and two counts of Unlawful Delivery of Marijuana to a Minor. He was sentenced to 65 months in custody of the Department of Corrections, with 36 months of post-prison supervision.
Detectives from the Eugene Police Department continue to aggressively investigate online predators and hold them accountable for their actions.
Tips for Parents and Guardians:
- Monitor your child's devices remotely and control access
- Be aware of communications between your child and others
- Beware of unexplained absences and behavior or sudden gifts or items they can’t afford or cash
- Understand cyber-crime and that “no one online is anonymous”
- If you child has a new game or app, spend time with them on it
- Set up an area where children can use their technology with a parents presence
- Consider not allowing your child to take a phone or computer with them into their room at night to sleep
- Understand appropriate protocols when a child discloses issues of sexting, or sextortion. Let your child know they can report concerns to you or another trusted adult
- Teach your child that it is o.k. to block users who make them uncomfortable
- Understand applications such as SnapChat, TikTok, Facebook, Google Hangouts, Instagram and more
There are some excellent online resources for parents to use in teaching their children about online safety. A good example if from the Federal Trade Commission: Protecting Kids Online | FTC Consumer Information