ARIZONA STRIP – A 63-year-old man was arrested for sexual exploitation of a minor Tuesday morning after allegedly luring a minor on social media.
Detectives arrested 63-year-old Robert Thomas Brown, of Beaver Dam, Arizona, on five felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, according to a media statement issued by Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday.
Investigations began recently when Mohave County Sheriff’s detectives received information from the Winslow Police Department in Arizona, the statement said, regarding the luring of a minor through social media.
Investigations led detectives to contact Brown at a residence on the 900 block of North Desert Wind Drive Tuesday morning. According to the Sheriff’s Office, a search warrant was conducted at the home and child pornography was located of a 14-year-old female.
“Brown admitted to his involvement in the offense,” the Sheriff’s Office said in the statement.
Brown was taken into custody without incident. He was transported and booked into the Mesquite Jail in Nevada.
Online friendships can mean offline peril
“Even with all the media attention on the dangers of social networking,” the Federal Bureau of Investigations website states, “we still receive hundreds of complaints per year about children who have been victims of criminal incidents on social networks.”
While social networking profiles help kids connect and share common interests, predators who want to victimize kids can use those online profiles to search for potential victims.
Kids sometimes compete on social networking websites to see who has the greatest number of contacts, the FBI said, and will add new people to their lists even if they do not know them in real life.
In doing so, they make themselves susceptible to falling victim to adults posing as children who later travel to abuse the child; and adults posing as children who convince the child to expose themselves and/or perform sexual acts over webcam and later extort the child to perform additional acts.
According to the National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children, there are many different manipulation tactics used by offenders, often in combination, to acquire sexual content (images and/or videos) of the child, obtain money from the child or have sex with the child. The most common tactic: Threatening to post previously acquired sexual content online.
Some other tactics include:
- Reciprocation, whereby the offender coerced the child into providing sexual content by promising reciprocity
- Developing a bond with the child through flattery and praise
- Secretly recording sexually explicit videos of the child during video chats
- Using multiple online identities against a given child, such as being the person blackmailing for sexual content as well as pretending to be a supportive friend to the child or a sympathetic victim of the same offender
- Pretending to be younger and/or a female
- Threatening to physically hurt or sexually assault the child or their family
- Threatening to create sexual content of the child using digital-editing tools
- Accessing the child’s account without authorization and stealing sexual content of the child
- Threatening to commit suicide if the child does not provide sexual content
- Creating a fake profile as the child and posting sexual content of the child
- Pretending to be a modeling agent to obtain sexual content of the child
- Threatening to post sexually explicit conversations with the child online
Children often don’t realize that they cannot “take back” the online text and images they post, according to the FBI, and may not understand that individuals with access to this information can save and forward the content to an unlimited number of users.
“Kids also may not realize the potential ramifications of their online activities,” according to the FBI. “They can face consequences for posting harmful, explicit, dangerous or demeaning information online, including being humiliated in front of their families and peers, suspended from school, charged criminally, and denied employment or entry into schools.”
It is important to talk to teens about safety in a manner that respects their independence while establishing boundaries, according to NCMEC. An online discussion guide offers age-appropriate messages about personal and online safety that parents can use to start a conversation with their children ages 13-17.
Parents are encouraged to help their teen report anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable by asking for or showing them revealing photos or asking to meet offline, on the NCMEC Cyber Tipline.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
- The National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children Discussion Guide: Ages 13-17
- NCMEC Cyber Tipline
- Federal Bureau of Investigations Violent Crimes Against Children
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