Jefferson City man behind bars, accused of trying to have sex with 13-year-old

Man caught in child sex sting

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A Jefferson City man was arrested on charges of sexual solicitation of a teenage girl.

Mark Ruediger, 49, had been communicating with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl in Indiana since May. He was actually talking to an undercover Indiana police detective.

Ruediger is a long-distance truck driver who reportedly tried to get the girl to have sex with him when he traveled to Indiana for work.

He now faces three charges in Indiana and is expected to be extradited back there.

Even though his charges are not in this state, Missouri police are doing everything they can to stop internet crimes against children.

Missouri has 10 Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces to catch pedophiles, but in an age where many kids have smart phones, preying on children is easier than ever.

Andy Anderson with the Boone County Cyber Crimes Task Force said technology offers these predators the ability to connect with hundreds of children at any given time.

"It's a numbers game," Anderson said. "Now, because of technology, people with that propensity can talk to so many kids so easily, they're more likely to commit that crime."

Anderson believes parents need to play a proactive role in keeping their kids safe from online predators.

"Talk to them about all the great things their technology can do, but also talk to them about all the dangers," Anderson said. "Set ground rules and make sure you monitor their usage."

Missouri is one of the leading states in the U.S. for arrests in internet crimes against children.

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