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State Cybercrime Funds Won't Be Gutted

Mother Of Slain Girl Went To Tallahassee Last Week To Lobby For Cybercrime Units

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After Diena Thompson went to Tallahassee last week to lobby lawmakers against cutting funding for the state Attorney General's Office's cybercrime unit, the former head of the unit went before the senate budget committee to fight for funds.

While no guarantees were made, members of the unit got some assurances that the funds it will not be gutted in the midst of proposed budget cuts.

The unit will still be transferred to the supervision of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but it's looking less likely any law enforcement positions will be cut.

Thompson, the mother of slain 7-year-old Somer Thompson, spent last Tuesday making pleas to Florida lawmakers, fighting to keep funds from disappearing from the state's cybercrime unit.

Nearly a year and a half since her daughter disappeared in Orange Park and was found killed, Thompson went to Tallahassee to lobby against a budget cut for a program aimed at helping exploited kids.

She rallied against statewide budget cuts that would strip $1.4 million from cybercrime units that protect exploited children.

Thompson said she feels that cybercrime units are what put men like Jarred Harrell, the man accused of her killing her daughter, in jail.

According to the Department of Justice research, there are at least 38,000 individual computers in Florida that either produce, use or transfer child pornography.

Thompson said if anything, the state should be adding funding to get predators off the streets.

Tuesday, which has been named Somer Thompson Day in Clay county, would have been the girl's 9th birthday. Her school, Grove Park Elementary, will have a moment of silence in her memory.