Man Charged with Luring 12-Year-Old Girl on Facebook

A Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged with attempting a sexual encounter with a 12-year-old girl he met on Facebook, police said.

Richard Whitehead, 28, of Sellersville, Penn., thought he was meeting the child at an abandoned bunker in a densely wooded area of Lenape Park, Penn., but instead was met by police. Whitehead was arrested and later charged with "attempted involuntary deviant sexual intercourse of a child less than 16, attempted statutory sexual assault, and other crimes," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Police were notified in early May 17 by a woman who reported that a man claiming to be "Kevin Smith" wanted to "hang out" with her 12-year-old daughter. The affidavit of probable cause contained this transcript:

"Hi wats up ur cute," the Facebook messages began on May 9, according to a transcript included in an affidavit of probable cause attached to the criminal complaint.

"Thanks I don't know what you look like," the girl replied.

"Heres my number txt me and I'll send u a pic," the man wrote, including his cellphone number.

Detectives used the cell number to identify Whitehead, and then found out a 12-year-old friend of the first girl was also contacted by the suspect, the affidavit said. Police advised her to initiate contact with the suspect, and as a police detective was there, the girl received a text about "having a sexual encounter."

Whitehead was arraigned May 24 and held on $500,000 bail.

Aside from the fact that both 12-year-old girls don't meet the Facebook age requirement of 13, this story highlights the importance of monitoring a child's Internet and texting activity. While Facebook does ban about 20,000 underage users a day, it's a parent's role to educate children on dangers that face them and prevent them from being put in harm's way.

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