If you aren’t using any social media platforms, this case may not make sense to you. If you or your child/children use social media, what I’m about to tell you has likely happened to you or them—it’s happened to me more times than I can count.
Sexually explicit photos showing up in your private messages. You report the account; you block the account, but they keep on showing up. I will say, this has only happened to me on Twitter, not on Facebook or Instagram. I’m not on TikTok enough to know if it happens there.
When the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Cyber Tip Line received complaints from teenage girls about receiving unwanted sexually explicit photos and lewd messages, they took it seriously and began an investigation.
After subpoenaing subscriber’s records from the various social media platforms, Federal officials located the 43-year-old male living with his mother.
A U.S. Attorney involved in the case said,
“Stalking is no longer a face-to-face crime.”
At least 30 different 15–16-year-old young women file complaints with the FBI and local police department. Some victims attended the cyberstalker’s sentencing and told the judge that after the authorities arrested the man and he’d been in custody since his arrest, they felt safe again.
A federal judge sentenced him to almost 4 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release. One victim offered the following advice should someone harass you on social media:
“Definitely speak up. Don’t be afraid to tell a peer, tell an adult, tell a friend, tell a police officer. They’re definitely here to help you, and they don’t ever want you going through stuff like we’ve been through.”
If your child or a child you know is being sexually harassed on social media, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Cyber Tip Line at (800) 843-5678.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Courier & Press