Man charged in child luring investigation
The Calgary Police Service has charged a 30-year-old man in relation to the online luring of a 13-year-old girl.
In late March 2015, the victim’s mother became concerned for her daughter’s welfare when she noticed changes in mood, behavior and routine. She also noticed the victim’s cell phone displayed an increased volume of text messaging. When she looked into phone records she became suspicious of a recent phone number she didn’t recognize. An observant neighbour also reported to the mother that he had seen her daughter in the company of an unknown man in his 30s.
The mother spoke to her daughter and discovered the nature of the relationship and immediately reported the incident to police.
Following a three-month investigation by District 2 and the Child Abuse Unit, investigators believe fictitious online profiles were used on a teen-specific social media platform to lure the victim. Officers believe the man created the fictitious accounts, posing as a female teen, to engage other teens in online chats. Eventually the fictitious teen allegedly arranged a meeting between the victim, and an older male friend, who was in fact the suspect.
Police are asking parents of underage youth to be cognizant of their digital activities. Parents are encouraged to have access to, and regularly monitor, their child’s social media accounts, cell phone messaging applications and other sources of digital communication. For more information for parents and teens on what to do if you believe that you or your child may be a victim of sexual abuse or online exploitation, go to www.sheldonkennedycac.ca or www.cybertip.ca.
Matthew Tyler HOLLAND was arrested on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, and has been charged with two counts of luring a child by telecommunication, one count of invitation to sexual touching with a child under 16 years of age, one count of make or publish child pornography and one count of communicate for the purpose of obtaining sexual services. He will next appear in court on Friday, July 24, 2015.
In the interest of public safety, the Calgary Police Service is releasing a photograph of the accused in this case. It can be found on The City of Calgary Newsroom.
Anyone, parent or teen, who believes they are a victim of online exploitation should call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234, or Crime Stoppers anonymously using any of the following methods:
Signs your teen may be experiencing side-effects of online exploitation:
- Sad or crying frequently
- Displays of anger
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in activities, hobbies or sports
- Not wanting to attend school
- A sudden change in their activity level on their own social media platforms
Important ongoing discussions to have with your teen about online contact with others:
- Explain that adults should not be attempting to become “friends” with or give sexual attention to teenagers. Let them know this type of boundary-breaking behaviour demonstrates the adult is using poor judgment, making it unsafe to interact with them.
- Discuss that it is illegal to threaten someone online or offline. Explain that threats are often used in an attempt to control the situation and get youth to comply with demands of a sexual nature. If someone threatens her/him, s/he needs to tell a safe adult (whether it be you, a teacher, a counsellor, etc.).
- Explain that there is no need or urgency to respond to any messages. Teach her/him not to respond to messages that make her/him feel uncomfortable.
- Discuss how sharing personal issues or situations online with the wrong person could leave someone open to manipulation and mistreatment.
- Use real life stories from the media to discuss situations that have happened to teens. Seize the opportunity to openly talk about these stories with your teen, as well as the risks, and discuss what could have been done differently. Your child is less likely to become defensive as the scenario is not about her/him personally. At the same time, it opens the door for your child to share a similar situation or concern with regard to her/him or one of her/his peers.
- Teach your adolescent how to get out of unwanted conversations and/or relationships. Some direct ways of getting out of uncomfortable situations include refusing to do something by saying “I don’t want to” or “no thanks” or discontinuing contact by not responding to messages, and deleting or blocking the person as a contact. Indirect ways of ending a conversation include making excuses such as “I have to go out with my family.” or blaming parents “my mom checks my computer randomly and would ground me.”
- Explain the importance of seeking your help without the fear of her/him getting into trouble and reinforce that it’s never too late to ask for help, even if they are embarrassed about what has happened.