However, sometimes people in positions of authority, like coaches, scout leaders, teachers, mother's boyfriends or babysitters exploit authority roles to intimidate or coerce kids into abuse.
Some criminals go so far as to pose as store detectives or police.
To appear real, they may use badges and uniforms, or attach flashing lights to their vehicle. Teenagers are easily intimidated when confronted, especially if they are accused of
doing something wrong.
These are all characteristics of the Authority Lure.
Children Safety expert Ken Wooden showed how easy manipulation can be for this
style of lure.
"There's a stakeout up there. Just stay right there. Don't move." said Wooden.
After the simple flash of a badge, college student Amy Brewbaker believed everything
this man has to say. He's a safety expert, but he could have easily been a sexual predator.
Brewbaker's first thought was that he was an Undercover Officer.
"He showed me his badge so I thought it was legit. I don't know. Oh.... that's so
scary." said Brewbaker
A few minutes later Wooden had another victim by simply saying "I need to ask you a question or two. Just come over here."
Jim Toggeweiler fell for this one, but he wasn't exactly sure what he did wrong.
This lure is especially dangerous for teenagers. They can be easily intimidated when accused of shoplifting or other crimes.
The solution: Demand a uniformed officer in a marked car before going with anyone who says they are a policeman.
Toggeweiler said "It didn't seem like I was in trouble or anything and you had a badge."
Wooden reminds youngsters that they have the right to challenge any authority figure who tells them to do something that is against the law or makes them feel scared or unsafe.
If confronted by someone claiming to be with law enforcement, children have the right to request a uniformed police officer in a marked police car.
It is important for you as a parent reinforce that it is illegal for anyone, even a person in a
position of authority, to touch a child's private parts, or make the child touch someone else.