Police in Port Clinton, Ohio, are advising local residents to be aware of someone who has been approaching their children on Instagram. The person with the username of “cry_baby_cryyy” is said to have been approaching children on Instagram and having conversations with them before revealing they’re an adult. Reports say the Instagram conversations are ‘alarming’.
What I found more alarming was what Port Clinton Police discovered in their investigation.
In case you missed the part I was talking about, it’s the “some of the parents were not even aware that their child was using Instagram”.
Let me clue some parents into something. If your kids have a mobile device, such as a cell phone or tablet, and they’re above the age of 12, they’re probably on Instagram, and if they’re on Instagram, they’re probably sharing too much personal information whether they realize it or not.
Online predators can often discern your child’s relative location by things that appear in the background of pictures such as school colors or any activity your kid may belong to. Have a discussion with your kids about sharing information that could put them in danger, and if you don’t know if your kids are on Instagram, look for the icon at right on their devices.
Over at Crime Classified I recently posted a story about a man who was caught allegedly looking for kids for sex on craigslist. Thankfully, police were able to apprehend him, hopefully before any child could have been abused. The reason I bring up this story was because while talking with police, who posed as a guardian of a 12-year-old girl, the suspect instructed police to download the app Wickr to continue communicating. I had never heard of Wickr before so I decided to some research on it.
Wickr is a mobile messaging app which prides itself on privacy and anonymity. You don’t need an email address to sign up and all the messages on Wickr are encrypted. That means, in theory, the messages can only be read by the people involved in the conversation. Wickr even says they don’t keep any records of the messages on their own servers. How true that is remains to be seen, but I digress.
There are some certain places and circumstances where an app like this can be a literal lifesaver. For example, people who live under oppressive governmental regimes could potentially rely on this app to communicate, hopefully without reprisal. Corporate or governmental whistleblowers could use this app to anonymously report their findings to the media. I could also see this being a lifesaving app for victims of domestic violence needing to hide communications from their abuser. However, like any tool, it can also be abused.
I could potentially see predators making contact with kids on one app, like Kik or Snapchat, then instruct their potential victims to use Wickr to try to keep their conversations from prying eyes. I also see it as a potential avenue of the trading of child porn as well.
My advice to parents is to keep an eye out for this app on your kids’ devices.
36-year-old Chad Robison was an employee of a church in Lecanto, Florida. He was arrested back in July after coworkers allegedly found child porn on his work computer. After police were called, investigators were said to have found 3000 videos and 350,000 explicit pictures of minors including several chats Robison reportedly had with a 14-year-old girl on the anonymous chat website Omegle. Robison was said to have used screen recording software to record the video chats he had with the girl. He is said to have wanted to meet the girl as well.
Again to parents, Omegle is a website and not an app and can be accessed by any device with a web browser and camera. This means it could be used on a laptop, a tablet or phone. This also may be a good opportunity to show your kids that if they chat with strangers online, whatever they do can be recorded by the person on the other side of the conversation. It should also be reiterated to them that once an image or video of them is out on the internet it’s out there forever.
29-year-old David Andrew Borghesani of Northampton, Pennsylvania, was a teacher at a nearby high school. He resigned from his position back in February after it came to light that he allegedly sent pictures of his junk to three separate students over Snapchat. He also allegedly exchanged explicit pictures with one of the students so you can add child porn charges to that as well.
If someone were to ask me what was the most popular social app among teens, I would have to say Snapchat since it’s the one creepy teachers use most to prey on students.
Laughlin and Trujillo
48-year-old Chad Laverne Laughlin, of Noel, Missouri, was arrested in Miami, Ohio, when he was caught allegedly making out with a 14-year-old girl at a public library. It turns out that Laughlin was said to have bought the girl a cell phone so he could communicate with the girl on Kik. Her parents had no idea the girl had this phone. The pair reportedly had exchanged explicit pictures of themselves on Kik and had been communicating since the girl was 13. One disturbing message from Laughlin shows how far he was willing to go to be with the girl…
On June 1, Laughlin texted her, “Kitten, I may have found a way, you can even still go to school, but we have to get you a passport… We can emigrate to Israel, you’re 100 percent legal there… 14 is the age of consent.”
Great plan there Captain Pedo. It’s not like you wouldn’t be pursued for international kidnapping. Not to mention the fact the US has had an extradition treaty with Israel since the early 1960s.
However, this story takes an extreme left turn when, while investigating Laughlin, police found that the girl was being pursued by another predator, 25-year-old Dannon Lane Trujillo of Miami. Trujillo was ever so classy when messaging the girl…
“You want to be *** raped at the library. Don’t you?”
What a romantic.
You know, I wonder if the girl messaged Trujillo using the same phone that Laughlin bought her.
While this girl may have made some poor life choices, she is still a victim. A 14-year-old girl can not legally consent to sex anywhere in this country. We can only hope she learns from her mistakes now before her life goes down an even more dangerous path.
Michael Loren Ross
43-year-old Michael Loren Ross was an elementary teacher in Davenport, Iowa. That was before he was arrested for allegedly trading child porn on mobile messaging app Kik. He’s not believed to have had sexual contact with any of his students. He did reportedly say that he only had the child porn for personal viewing only. In case there was any question in your mind, that doesn’t make it any better. Nothing ever makes viewing child porn excusable.
Ross is out on bond and has pleaded not guilty.
Adam Russell Hegyi
30-year-old Adam Russell Hegyi, of Crown Point, Indiana, is facing federal prosecution for allegedly threatening and extorting an underage girl over social media. Hegyi is said to have used (deep breath) Omegle, Kik, Snapchat, Skype, Instagram, Facebook and FaceTime. What, no Friendster?
All kidding aside, Hegyi is one scary dude. After he allegedly coerced the girl into sending explicit photos, he threatened the girl’s family if she did not send more.
“If you don’t want any of this to happen, you need to send more pics without your face in them. You have 60 minutes starting now,” Hegyi said in a March message on Kik.
He is then said to have sent the pictures of the victim to her parents and claimed to have also sent them to students at her school.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg. I urge you read the linked article to see how mentally disturbed this assclown was.
I think it goes without saying, you need to know who your children are talking to on social media. Check all the accounts.
36-year-old Andrew Potter of Independence, Missouri, was arrested by the Faulkner County (Ark.) Sheriff’s Office for allegedly exchanging child porn with undercover investigators. FCSO investigators reportedly found Potter on Kik, in a group called ‘pedheaven’. Investigators posed as a man who was willing to let Potter have sex with his wife and possibly one of his kids. Potter was arrested in Faulkner County at the proposed meeting. Potter is also a registered sex offender and was said to have claimed to investigators he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old female. He is currently being held without bond.
Potter fits 3/4 of the Kik kreeper quartet. He’s a sex offender, more than likely a pedophile and probably a child porn collector, but he’s no Anthony Weiner.
Normally, I don’t follow high-profile stories like the saga of Anthony Weiner, but how could I not?
Recently, the former U.S. Representative was sentenced to 21 months behind bars for transferring obscene material to a 15-year-old girl over social media. Weiner communicated with the girl using Twitter, Skype, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Confide(?), and….wait for it…Kik.
The only reason I posted this story is now I can say that Kik is the stomping grounds of sex offenders, pedophiles, child porn collectors, and Anthony Weiner.
21-year-old Joseph Meili, of Russellville, Missouri, has been charged in the alleged rape and kidnapping of an 11-year-old Republic girl he met through MeetMe. This is said to have taken place in July of this year after Meili picked the girl up from her home and took her back to an apartment in Springfield. The victim was reportedly being raped while police were searching for her. She was found at home after Meili dropped her off. While investigating, police are said to have found evidence that a rape did take place. To make matters worse, authorities say Meili gave the victim an STI.
When police contacted Meili reports say he tried using the ‘she said she was 18’ defense by saying the victim’s MeetMe profile said she was 18. Many people would say that should be defense enough against the charges. I’ve heard it so many times before, “Do you know how many girls look like they’re 18?” Really? Even when they’re eleven? Either way, it’s immaterial because if the charges are correct he forcibly had sex with the girl, you know, rape.
Again, MeetMe is no place for children. It’s a social app mostly used by people who are looking for a hook up. While its terms of service say users have to be at least 13, app stores rate the app as M for Mature, meaning no one under 17 should use it. The victim was able to create an account using her mother’s phone. As far as I’m concerned, that’s inexcusable. Not only should you know what your kids are doing on their devices, but you damn well better know what they’re doing on yours.