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Hanaway speaks on child endangerment, meth facts at public meeting in Jackson

Thursday, February 22, 2007

(Photo)
Federal prosecutor Catherine Hanaway spoke about methamphetamine and child endangerment at the Jackson Noon Optimist Club meeting on Wednesday.
(Fred Lynch)
Catherine L. Hanaway, federal prosecutor for Missouri's eastern district, spoke at a public meeting Wednesday about child endangerment and methamphetamine.

The meeting was held by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and the Jackson Noon Optimist Club at Delmonico's restaurant in Jackson.

Thirty two people attended the presentation, including Jackson Chamber and Optimist members and representatives from Safe House for Women, New Vision Counseling, CASA and the SEMO-NASV, all of Cape Girardeau.

Jackson police Lt. Chris Mouser introduced Hanaway, saying the topics are important issues for communities today.

Before speaking on her scheduled topics, Hanaway explained that federal crimes can be defined either by their significance or by a determination by the U.S. Congress.

Felons in possession of a firearm and child pornography are examples of federal crimes, she said, and all federal crimes are felonies.

Launching into her discussion on methamphetamine, Hanaway said in 2002 lawmakers legislated that the federal government can try cases involving as little as 5 grams of methamphetamine, whereas prior to that date the amount was 25 grams or more.

She credited 2005 legislation limiting pseudoephedrine sales as the major reason for the decrease in methamphetamine labs in Missouri, adding that while labs are down those addicted to the drug have not declined.

In addition, trafficking of meth, which she said is associated with more money and violence, has become a problem in the state. People attracted to meth are somewhat different than those attracted to cocaine and other drugs, she said.

The average user is white, female and in her 20s, she said.

"This isn't a teenager's drug," she said.

At one time it was thought there were no recovery treatments for meth addicts, something Hanaway said has changed.

"They can recover," she said. "But it takes a longer time."

Hanaway encouraged the audience to look for signs of meth abuse in people they know and to get them help.

Typical signs include anxiety, sleeplessness and even a particular smell methamphetamine has that will cling to users.

Pornography study

Hanaway said a federal study done on child pornography showed that 70 percent of victims were under the age of 12 years, 50 percent under the age of 5 years and 30 percent were under the age of 3.

"Almost each week we're indicting a new case," of child pornography in Missouri, she said.

Hanaway said parents should not allow children to have Web cameras, no computers in their rooms, and should warn children of the potential dangers of posting personal information on Internet sites such as Myspace.com and Facebook.com.

"Warn them to limit access to those pages to people they know," she said.

Because much of child pornography occurs on the Internet, Hanaway said parents may need to "spy" on their children's Internet and texting activities.

"They won't like it, but it will save them from so much grief later," she said.

carel@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127


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