SEATAC, Wash. — Police arrested a man accused of raping an 11-year-old after the girl’s mother came home from work to find the man hiding inside a bedroom.
According to charging documents from the King County Prosecutor’s Office, the girl met the suspect, 18 -year-old Jay Nova, on the social media app Snapchat. The two arranged to meet at the girl’s home in SeaTac. She let him into the home through their sliding glass door while her mom was at work Aug. 28.
Prosecutors said Nova had sex with the girl twice that day. She told him they “shouldn’t do this,” but he ignored her.
The girl’s mom and her boss came home to get food at lunchtime, the report said. She thought her daughter was acting strangely, so she looked around and discovered the 18-year-old trying to hide in a bedroom.
The girls’ mother held the door shut and called police. Officers rushed into the scene, at first thinking a burglary was in progress.
The suspect at first told police he was just looking for a place to stay, but later admitted to having sex with the girl.
Nova is charged with two counts of rape of a child. He pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Nova is being held on $250,000 bail for each count. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 24.
SALT LAKE CITY — A Cache County man was charged with rape of a child after investigators say he lured a 13-year-old girl to his apartment.
According to a probable cause statement, 20-year-old Tristan Todd Larson posed as a middle school student on the Snapchat messaging app.
Investigators said he sent messages to the teenaged victim who believed Larson was a female classmate.
The probable cause statement alleges, on June 22, when the victim went to visit the person she was chatting with, Larson opened the door of his North Logan apartment, pulled the girl inside and tied a bandanna around her mouth before he raped her.
North Park police arrested Larson on July 10.
Law enforcement warns all children can be vulnerable to this type of crime that begins in cyberspace.
“I read a lot of reports of what’s happening to our kids in our state and it can turn your gut,” said Alan Conner, the regional supervisor of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a division of the Utah Attorney General’s Office. “It is a big problem here in Utah.”
Conner said parents should pay close attention to the interactions their children have on social media where predators are lurking.
“That is where the predators go to start grooming these kids to get them to trust them. They are only there for one reason and that’s to get our kids and abuse them,” Conner said.
All too often, kids are deceived by adults hiding behind an online persona.
“If somebody comes to you across the app and says hey, ‘I’m so and so’s friend,’ you don’t know that. How do you verify that,” Conner said.
Parents are urged to be educated about the latest technologies so they can be the first and most important line of defense against predators who are a mere click away from their kids.
“Keep an eye, know the apps,” Conner said. “We can’t be too careful.”
Larson was denied bail. He faces five years to life in prison if convicted of child rape.
Police: Utah man charged with sexual extortion threatened to expose teen girls, send ‘rapists’ to their homes
SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A Utah man has been charged with numerous felonies after authorities said he sexually extorted girls online, with more than 50 potential victims identified.
An agent with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began an investigation into 19-year-old Gabe Ryan Gilbert in August of 2018 after receiving a report from Snapchat about a user who was extorting minors.
Gilbert was booked into jail this week after being sent home from a mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A 15-year-old user reported that Snapchat user “Ethan Parker” threatened to Photoshop images of her face onto nude photos and “expose her” if she didn’t send the man nude pictures of herself.
The girl laughed off his threats but reported the exchange to Snapchat, who reported it to ICAC.
“When I examined the results of the search warrant from Snapchat it was obvious the user had been engaging in very similar behavior with other underage girls,” the agent wrote in the statement of probable cause. “I identified well over fifty (50) potential victims of this type of sexual extortion.”
The charging document details numerous exchanges between the user and underage girls. In most cases the man threatened to Photoshop the girls’ faces onto nude photos, but in some cases he made other threats of physical and sexual violence against the victims.
ICAC Task Force Commander Jessica Farnsworth says these situations can leave kids devastated.
“It’s very taxing on kids and it’s very harmful for kids. We’ve seen an increase of suicide amongst kids that have had this happen to them because they feel so ashamed inside,” Farnsworth said.
In one case the man threatened to send “56 year old rapists or human traffickers” to her home if she didn’t comply, and then he sent the girl screen shots of her exact location—including an image of her home.
He told another girl he would be, “posting your nudes all over the internet and sending them to creeps. So have fun.”
Some of the victims complied with the demands to send photos or videos, while others did not.
“Generally, people’s motives to do this type of crime, this sextortion, is pure sexual gratification. They want more and more images of child pornography,” Farnsworth said.
Police gathered digital evidence and showed the victims photos to identify the suspect as 19-year-old Gabe Ryan Gilbert, who was 17 at the time some of the exchanges and an adult at the time of some of the others.
When officers went to Gilbert’s home in South Jordan, his family informed them he was in Mexico serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no indication any of the messages were sent after the man left for that mission.
A few days later an attorney for the church contacted authorities to inform them a Mission President interviewed Gilbert after agents spoke with his family.
“What Gabe said was not disclosed, but he was immediately sent home,” the document states of that interview.
When police went to Gilbert’s home they were not able to make contact with him and said his family would not speak regarding his whereabouts. Authorities ultimately issued a warrant for Gilbert’s arrest and he was booked into jail on a $500,000 bond.
He is so far charged with five counts of aggravated sexual extortion of a child as first-degree felonies and four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor as second-degree felonies.
Help is available for victims by contacting ICAC at (801) 281- 1211.
HURRICANE, Utah — A school district is disciplining Hurricane High School students who created and spread around their high school a graphic, racist Snapchat picture.
Washington County School District responded with “disgust and sadness” to the photo, which involved students and non-student adults, according to the district’s statement.
“No level of discipline can repair the hate, bigotry and ugliness portrayed in that one picture,” the statement read.
The photo shows a person with a Ku Klux Klan-like white mask over his head, standing in front of a Confederate flag, holding two males with black paint on their faces by the back of their shirts as they played dead. The caption implied that the individual had been hunting black people and had “fill[ed] [his] tags.”
The photo was not taken on school grounds or during school time, the district wrote, but that fact “does not minimize our abhorrence of this racist act.”
The district said the image was brought to their attention Thursday evening and that “appropriate discipline for the students involved began immediately.”
The district stated that it welcomed law enforcement to review the photo for potential criminal violations and with legal counsel to consult on possible administrative actions.
The district is also considering increased education on civil rights protections and violations after the “repulsive” incident.
Fox 13 News has decided NOT to show the image on TV or online.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Several posts regarding Snapchat location features and random users adding people as friends are raising concerns about privacy and location sharing in the app.
It all started with a warning post on Facebook from Lawrence, Mass. saying people who “added you by search” in Snapchat could be trying to get your location from “the Snap Map” and force you into sex trafficking.
Here in Des Moines, Eliza Hatcher noticed more people showing up that added her “by search” so she shared the same message, fearing the same thing.
“You share so much through your social media. Where you are, who you associate with, what you do, what school you go to even and people can see that. If you don’t have your privacy settings on, people can get onto your profile and find all this information about you and they could find you potentially. And it’s a thing that people don’t think about that there’s people out there that are going to come after them in anyway, but it’s a real problem,” Hatcher said.
Lawrence Massachusetts Police said there’s “no substance” to the sex trafficking part of this.
Des Moines Police don’t believe this is a sex trafficking tactic either.
“I think you found somebody who might have some criminal intent or some bad intentions and they want to somehow get close to you that may be possible but as far as a larger scale sex trafficking, kidnap, recruit you, take you away, this is not how that happens,” Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said.
Hatcher said whether the sex trafficking part is true or not it’s important to be aware of who’s adding you and who can see your location
“We all have to look out for each other,” Hatcher said.
Sgt. Parizek said this is a good reminder to examine who you’re adding as a friend and your privacy settings in your phone and in your apps.
“If you’ve got a group of friends, for lack of a better term, that you really don’t know who all of them are and you start sharing your location you might invite a stalker into your life. You might invite someone who’s got some criminal intent or just a bad guy who you never know what’s going to happen. So you have to be super careful when you’re doing those things because the where you are and the who you are with and the what you’re doing are things that those folks may look for,” Sgt. Parizek said.
You can turn off the location feature on Snapchat by going to the app’s settings and turning on what’s called “ghost mode.”