Father of Norfolk child porn victim warns other parents

NORFOLK, Va.- There’s a renewed alert on kids being solicited online for sex.

This time the message is coming from a father in Hampton Roads who said his teenager was recently solicited and groomed by an older man over the internet.

Many parents buy their children cell phones and gaming devices to keep them connected with their friends. But this Norfolk father said he had no clue these devices would lead his stepdaughter into the hands of a man accused of sexual crimes.

“I, never in a million years, thought that she would’ve been somebody that this would happen to,” said the father of the child pornography victim. “We couldn’t believe it. You know that she was able to be basically groomed the way she was.”

News 3 is not identifying the father or the victim to protect their privacy.

The father shared his feelings after learning his daughter was talking to 28-year-old Ethan Roberts online. Court documents show Roberts recently pleaded guilty to producing child pornography.

Court documents also show Roberts and the teen had been chatting for seven months, having sexual conversations, and he had her send him explicit pictures.

“She’s a little kid, someone that would do that to a little kid they can just be gone forever,” the father said.

In August, the father said he called police worried that their daughter was missing.

Lured from Hampton Roads to Arizona, Roberts and the minor were speaking on online chat platforms, gaming devices, and cell phones, before they even met, according to court documents. Roberts took a bus from Arizona to Hampton Roads and picked her up. They then went back to his home in Arizona.

“I mean, I never ever would’ve thought that could’ve happened like that over a gaming system,” the child’s father said.

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, research in a report from 2021 shows that the expansion of digital and mobile technology has contributed to a 422% increase in the number of child pornography production offenders.

The teen’s father told News 3’s Kelsey Jones he had no idea it was all happening.

Research also shows that over one-third of production offenders sentenced in 2019 were internet strangers who met their victims through an online platform. T

This father now has a message for many other parents.

“Check every device,” he said. Kids are going to hate you, but you have to do it for their safety.”

In a statement from Special Agent in charge Brian Dugan of FBI Norfolk, he said

“Thanks to the local police department’s quick response and FBI Norfolk’s ingenuity, we were able to locate the missing victim through her gaming account and reunite her with her family. As the world evolves, so does the FBI and how we solve cases. This is just one example of that. And while criminals might think crossing state lines will help them get away, this case also serves as a reminder that because of the FBI’s wide reach and partnership with local law enforcement – these predators will be caught, and they will pay the consequences.”

Roberts will be sentenced on April 19th. He faces anywhere from 15 to 30 years in prison.



This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here

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