Douglas Nick Sverko has been arrested on charges of unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a computer. Sverko, 43, has been a Pennsylvania State Trooper since 1993. His arrest is the 284th arrest made by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit, which was launched in 2005. Sverko is the first officer to be arrested.
Sverko is being accused of sending a nude webcam message to a girl who identified herself through a computer chat room as being 13 years old. The “girl” happened to be one of the Child Predator Unit’s undercover agents. According to the Attorney General’s press release, after complimenting the undercover agent’s profile and confirming her young age, the trooper then “allegedly indicated that he was not wearing any clothing, stating, ‘naked is comfy,’ and, ‘I am not afraid to tell you that I’m naked and attracted to you.'”
Allegedly Sverko then sent a webcam message to the teenage girl which showcased him dancing around naked after which he asked if the young girl found the video enjoyable and inquired as to whether it aroused her. It is then alleged that the trooper asked the girl to keep the conversation private so that her mother wouldn’t find out.
Sverko was arraigned on Feb. 16, where bail was set at $100,000. His preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 23 at 9 a.m.. He faces up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines for the two third-degree felonies he is charged with. Sverko has been suspended without pay.
It is a sad day when a state trooper gets caught with his pants down by going after a teenage girl online. Internet child predators are bad enough without parents having to worry about police officers, who are public servants, disobeying laws.
In 2009, Wisconsin’s Criminal Investigative Unit set up a special group to combat internet crimes against children. Since its inception, the unit, going undercover online, has lured in priests, teachers, a mayor and police officers. These are the people who are supposed to be protecting and teaching our children and teenagers. It is high time that they are caught.
Parents should take heed to keep an eye on the activities of teenagers online and off. Although this situation happened to involve an undercover agent, it could have been any teenager. Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan offers some advice on internet safety.
“Internet predators often attempt to send sexually explicit photos or videos during their initial online encounters,” he said. Ryan then asks for parents and other adults to encourage children to report incidents that are inappropriate, make them uncomfortable or appear to be suspicious to the authorities as quickly as possible.
Pa. Attorney General Press Release