A West Palm Beach man is facing several felony counts after authorities say he used the Instagram app to groom a 12-year-old girl in Flint, Michigan, convince her to meet him in a parking lot, and then took her to a hotel and sexually abused her. The man had flown from West Palm Beach to Detroit to arrange the encounter.
The man is now facing 12 felony counts including possession of child pornography, using a computer to solicit someone underage, criminal sexual abuse, and more. If convicted, he would face a life sentence, but a minimum sentence on these charges would require 25-year restitution to the state.
Michigan and Genesee County authorities became aware of the assault and tracked the man back to Florida where he was later arrested. Data taken from the man shows that he had flown to Oregon and Washington to commit similar sexual assaults. Hence, authorities have dubbed him a serial rapist.
Understanding the crime
Authorities say that the man convinced girls to meet up with him in exchange for cryptocurrency that he would supply over a gaming app. So, games and sites like Instagram have become an attack surface for pedophiles, and parents need to be very aware of how clever these individuals are and how successful their attempts to convince young women to meet up can be. While it may be comfortable to think that your child would never be duped by such an individual, they often make promises they have no intention of keeping, and children aren’t necessarily aware of what the pedophile is hoping to accomplish. In this case, we have one very successful pedophile who was able to arrange meetups in at least three cases that we know of. Who knows how long he had been getting away with this?
This brings us to a second point. Now that the individual is in custody, his whereabouts will be tracked and authorities will attempt to uncover every victim to the defendant had access to. This means that they will be going through his gaming accounts, social media accounts, and personal files to find more victims. It’s harder to uncover DNA evidence off of live victims, but witness testimony set against his cellphone tower pings can place him in locations. Police will also have access to conversations that he had online.
Unfortunately, catching someone like this often depends on the victim coming forward to report the matter to the police. Not all victims are willing. Many believe that they will get into trouble with their parents and pedophiles exploit this to keep them silent. It appears that the final victim helped police trace the man back to West Palm Beach, which then helped them uncover more victims.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
The Skier Law Firm, P.A. represents those charged with crimes. Call our West Palm Beach criminal lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.