Internet relationship leads to rape investigation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Internet relationship leads to rape investigation

Investigators believe that for almost a year David Patterson used the Internet and a cell phone to foster relationships with two young girls from East Shelby County.

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell says, "Its certainly a disturbing case considering that you've got two young girls involved and this is another example of crime over the Internet."

The 12 year old victim told sheriff's deputies she let Patterson in through a bedroom window of her home Monday night where he allegedly raped her and her 16 year female friend.

Luttrell continues, "The threat is real."

Internet safety expert John Simi is seeing more and more Mid south kids meeting people online.

Simi says, "And that's 2 kids out of however many we have in Memphis but its two kids today and it could be 2 tomorrow and 2 next week."

A 2005 survey of kids between 13 and 18 years old revealed that Two out of five kids said they've posted information about themselves on the Internet so others could see or contact them.

Nearly 1 third say they've talked about meeting someone whom they've only met through the Internet.

One in 4 said they've talked online about sex with someone they've never met.

And almost half admitted they use code words to hide conversations from parents.

"The chance of your child actually meeting someone might be minuscule but the chance is still there," continues Simi.

Experts say charges against David Patterson should serve as a wake up call for parents who think "not my kid".

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