Boy apparent target of child predators on YouTube
April 19, 2011 (PINE GROVE TOWNSHIP, Ind.) (WLS) -- A 10-year-old boy in northwest Indiana was apparently targeted by child predators on a popular website.
The boy is from Pine Grove Township, near Chesterton.
Police say the boy thought he was posting nude pictures of himself on YouTube at what he believed was the request of girls he had met online. But those girls were apparently child predators who tried to blackmail the boy into posting more photos.
Child safety advocates say this a reminder to all parents and children about the dangers of the internet.
Porter County Sheriff's police in Indiana say the 10-year-old does not realize the ramifications of what he did. His parents have now taken away his computer privileges.
Investigators say the child pornographers posed as two 14-year-old girls and convinced the boy to post the nude video of himself online Friday evening.
"He did go ahead and make a brief video of himself nude, and went ahead and posted that on his YouTube account, and it was accessed," said Larry LaFlower, Porter County Sheriff's Department public information officer.
The minor said he profiled himself as a 16-year-old online and told officials he deleted the video after he started getting requests for more nude videos, many requesting he do sexually explicit things and threatening him if he did not comply with their requests.
"They said they would tell the FBI if he did not send more nude images. The way it is today with the online sexual predators, this could be adults posing as young girls," said LaFlower.
The boy's mother contacted law enforcement officials after she found out about the threats because every e-mail message sent to her son also is forwarded to her e-mail.
"She actually saw the talk back and forth between them wanting them to go ahead and for him to send a nude video of himself. At that point, they confronted him and he did admit they did do it," LaFlower said.
Porter County Sheriff Jeremy Chavez advises parents about how to protect their children from sexual predators on the internet.
"It all starts with parent awareness, and internet safety, and watching what their kids are doing and trying to monitor more closely," said Chavez. "Something as basic as putting the computer in an open area where they can see what their kids are doing at all times and also limiting the amount of time kids are spending."
Chavez said he was surprised to find out a 10-year-old had a YouTube account.
Porter County Sheriff's police do not have any suspects. What they do have are the username accounts that the minor was using to chat back and forth on. They added that people can make fake accounts these days and sexual predators can be from out of state and even out of the country.
The Porter County Sheriff's Department may reach out to state and federal resources to help them solve this case.
local, theresa gutierrez
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