.

Police Commish: Social Networking Posing Real Problem

Kenneth Jackson reminds parents to monitor who they're children are really talking to online.

Police commissioner Kenneth Jackson reminds parents of the dangers of social networking.
Police commissioner Kenneth Jackson reminds parents of the dangers of social networking.
In light of the recent arrest of a Bayville man police say raped a 13-year-old girl he met over Facebook, Garden City police commissioner Kenneth Jackson reminds parents about the dangers of social networking.

"It's posing a very serious threat to us," he said at Thursday's village board meeting. "All I ask is that parents - and I know it's very difficult, I am a parent also - try to monitor Facebook. If you can, get something from the library or the Internet that helps you understand Facebook or the other social networking sites because there's language we don't understand, most of us."

Nassau County police arrested Tereso De Jesus Ruiz-Hernandez, 25, on Monday, charging him with second-degree rape and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual act, both felonies.

Detectives said the victim, who lives in Glen Cove, met her attacker on Facebook in July. Ruiz-Hernandez arranged to meet the girl in Glen Cove on several occasions, detectives said. During those encounters, police said Ruiz-Hernandez engaged in sexual activity with the victim in his 2011 Nissan Maxima.

"The community, the schools can only do so much," trustee Nick Episcopia said. "If parents just let their children run wild with that, which in a lot of cases sadly it happens, you run into these things ... This is something I hope the schools are focusing on, making sure that parents of these young teenagers really do focus on who they're getting in touch with. It's scary."

The Garden City School District does offer a program dubbed S.T.O.P. Then SEND. The Nassau County District Attorney's office, with support from Garden City schools, the PTA and the Garden City Community Coalition, brings the program to the high school to help educate students and their parents about the dangers of cyber-bullying, the Internet and social networking sites.

"The Internet is so evolving," commissioner Jackson said. "It's just something you have to stay on top of, just try to understand terms. That's the most difficult thing because the terms even evolve ... They're making connections with adults and we have to do our best to try to understand who they're talking to."

Joe Dowd contributed to this article.