Albuquerque's Ch. 13 News Did an Exposé on Pedobear

here's the original article which has since been taken down from their website

Cartoon 'Pedobear' used for luring kids
"Pedobear" sighted in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The character known as "Pedobear," derived from the word pedophile, has recently popped up in Albuquerque and authorities say parents should be on guard.

Pedobear is a Japanese Internet cartoon that swipes children and molests them. It has quite the following among some cartoon enthusiasts who think Pedobear episodes are funny. Authorities are worried child predators in New Mexico are hiding behind the cartoon and could be victimizing children.

"There are people out there after children, and they are using this cute cuddly bear as their insignia," said Lynn Southard with the State Attorney General's Office. She says the bear is a national symbol for pedophile. "The bear is cute, but that is what the pedophiles are using to identify each other," explained Southard.

Two Pedobear stickers were spotted on cars in Albuquerque this month. One was on the rear window of a Jeep near the University of New Mexico. There is also a print shop that sells the images in Las Cruces. Members of the Attorney General's office say these accounts are the first time the bear has popped up in the state.

Online the bear is placed in children's games and unprotected kid-friendly websites. Predators use it to lure kids to their websites and initiate inappropriate contact. Pedophiles have also been known to buy costumes of the bear and wear them to get close to kids.

Members of the Attorney General's office worry the trivialization of the cartoon will make it easier for predators to victimize children. "We don't know where he's going to show up," said Southerd. "If we protect one child, we've done our job."

It's not illegal to display a Pedobear sticker. The man who sells them in Las Cruces says Pedobears make up about one-percent of his sales.

Law enforcement says if you see the Pedobear image, use caution with whatever situation you're in or the people involved.

While many say the Pedobear is a joke with a cult like following, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office worries some child predators may hide behind the humor.

For more information contact the the Attorney General's Office.

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