• Robin Lyons

The Pageant Ruse


Parents of school-age children will want to read this. Another method used by a sexual predator to trick children into compliance. Huge props to the mom in this case.


If you’re on Facebook, then you should know what Facebook Marketplace is. If you don’t know, it’s a sales service that connects people who are selling something specific with people in their area who are looking to buy that specific item.


What do you do with the expensive formal gown you bought for your daughter to wear to prom? Selling it on Facebook Marketplace seems logical. And that’s what the mom involved in this case did.


She received a response to her ad asking for photos of the dress. The mom got a weird vibe. Not long after the ad response, her daughter received a friend request on Facebook from someone with the same name as the person interested in the dress. She told her mother, who in turn contacted the FBI.


The FBI had received notice of a similar scenario playing out at another home in the area. The parents gave the FBI permission to respond to the person as if they were her daughter.


The person first asked for photos of the dress. He next requested photos of the girl wearing the dress in different poses. The potential “buyer” was considering the dress for a pageant. After the refusal to send voyeur type photos, the person said they’d pay $700 for the revealing photos.


The agent refused to send more photos. The buyer threatened to contact the girl’s friends and family to tarnish her “good girl” status. When the threat fell flat, he told her he had altered the photos of her he had received and she now appeared topless. He not only threatened to send the edited photos out to the public, he told her she needed to refer to him with “Yes, Master” or “No, Master.”


The FBI successfully tracked his IP address and arrested the man who had posed as a young woman to gain access to the teen.


The 48-year-old man accepted a plea deal. In exchange for the crime of cyber-stalking, he admitted he had posed as a young female on Facebook to communicate with the 15-year-old girl and to all of the above.


Not captured in the sentencing guidelines were his previous convictions for sexual battery and break and entering a sorority house. The judge took the previous crimes into account and sentenced him to the maximum of five years, three years of supervised release, and required that he register as a Sex Offender.


Worth Mentioning: The young victim in this case gave a statement at the sentencing and told the judge she’s afraid to run alone and suffers from anxiety when attending public events.


Also Worth Mentioning: The defendant filed an appeal for being required to register as a sex offender and for an unreasonable sentence. The court found both claims had no merit.


Much appreciation goes to the tireless efforts of the FBI to stop sexual crimes against children.


Do you know of a crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.


Source: U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Court of Appeals

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