Undercover Investigation Foils Suspected Sexual Predator

Published: August 24, 2012

In May 2012, the registered Electronic Service Provider (ESP) myYearbook (now MeetMe) notified the CyberTipline that a man, posing as a teenage boy and using an array of aliases, was involved in sexual conversations with over 30 girls. The ESP provided incident and identifying information, including E-mail and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Following up on a tip that the suspect was a registered sex offender, an analyst with NCMEC’s Exploited Children Division searched public records databases and discovered a criminal history that included credit card theft, forgery and disorderly conduct. He also confirmed the suspect was a convicted sex offender in Ohio.

The analyst found three earlier myYearbook reports linked to the suspect in which a 31-year-old man made disturbing comments about a 12-year-old girl. In the posts, the suspect stated that the child “wanted to have sex with him” and asked what to do if she became pregnant.

Those reports contained an IP address in Medina, Ohio, various online profiles with a possible name and date of birth and a potential match in a public records database. All CyberTipline reports were provided to the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, an OJJDP-funded program out of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

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ICAC investigators quickly learned the man was living at a men’s shelter near a college where he was a student. While waiting for a subpoena, investigators posing as a 14-year-old girl made contact with the suspect through a social networking site.

In the ensuing chats, the suspect said he was “older than 14” and living in Cleveland. He was very persistent in wanting to meet the “child” to engage in sex and provided his phone number. Soon after, a meeting was scheduled and ICAC officials waited for the suspect at the agreed-upon location and quickly arrested him when he arrived a short time later.

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