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All he needed, the prosecutors say, was a game console -- a Sony PlayStation 3. Oshea was taken into custody this afternoon by local police near his home. Houston authorities say they will try to bring him to Texas for trial. The suspect, Devlin said, "threw his old computer out because he didn't need it.
Devlin said this is the first time his office has pursued a sex crime case involving a gaming console. His office is charging Oshea, 24, with three felony counts, including online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography.
One charge carries a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison. Having gotten her to send him the pictures, Oshea then e-mailed them to people in at least five other states -- all through his console, Devlin charges. The PlayStation, like its major competitors, the Microsoft Xbox and Naked game online Wii, is just as capable of online access as any conventional computer with a screen, keyboard and mouse. A keyboard can, in fact, be plugged in. Many parents may not realize how quickly the Internet's reach has spread.
Law enforcement officials say the reach of sexual predators has spread as well. As young people play more and more online games, predators in -- and some are very good at using kids' lingo in gaming messages to sound friendly.
To fight back, law enforcement agencies are seeking help from any source they can. The Utah Attorney General's office, for instance, got advice from a local year-old, Zach Loulias -- who taught its investigators how to play various games and how to sound when posing as teenagers, chatting with a suspect online.
The people doing these illegal acts, they're going to greater and greater lengths to hide what they're doing. The Texas case, said technologists, is an illustration of just how broadly the term "online" needs to be defined. People are now reachable by computer, cell phone, personal digital assistant, game console -- and the list goes on. Devlin, the Texas prosecutor, said Sony helped his task force understand the workings of the PlayStation system.
Sony, contacted by ABC News, did not comment for this story. All the major manufacturers include parental controls in their consoles -- though parents, sometimes kept at arm's length by rebellious teenagers, may have to be assertive about protecting their .
Microsoft, whose Xbox competes with the PS3, has an Internet Safety Enforcement Team and says it trains police at conferences on how to work with the system. These are children's games.
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