Story Summary

Man accused of using app to lure 12-year-old girl

A 21-year-old Lynnwood man was charged with luring and accused of raping a 12-year-old girl. Police said the man used the cellphone app “Whisper” to communicate with the teenage girl.

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Local News
10/10/13

Man charged with using app to lure 12-year-old

 

SEATTLE — Forget Facebook or Twitter, more and more kids are checking in on social media sites where users are anonymous, and police in Lake Forest Park say one of those cellphone apps led to the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl.

“Every single day a new app comes out on a phone and as parents we really need to be involved,” Lake Forest Park Police Chief Stephen Sutton said. “That was the cause of this.”

appAdults may not have heard of many of the apps, but teens are increasingly using sites and apps like Ask.fm, Spraffl or Whisper, where they can remain anonymous and post secrets about themselves.

“Facebook is barely used anymore,” Leen, a junior at Shorecrest High School, said. “Because when you say something, you actually know who’s saying it.”

In the case of the 12-year-old, police said she was communicating with 21-year-old Ron Peterson via the app, Whisper. The app allows users to reveal secrets while staying secret, but there is also the option to see if other users are nearby and chat with them. In their conversations, the girl lied to Peterson and told him she was older.

Peterson told detectives he found the girl on the app, and eventually convinced her to climb out of her window at home and take off with him. He took her to a nearby motel where he told police he had sex with her.

The incident happened in early September and Peterson was held on suspicion of child rape. He was charged Wednesday with luring and communication with a minor for immoral purposes. He has no prior criminal convictions.

In court documents, Snohomish County prosecutor Mark Roe said that Peterson “is a substantial danger to commit a violent offense or otherwise interfere with the administration of justice” and requested his bail be set at $100,000.

Paul Narancic, a parent and middle school counselor, said parents should monitor all of the sites and apps their kids use, and also know the passwords.

He also believes parents shouldn’t be afraid to cut kids off from their technology if they witness cyber bullying or worse, a luring that could end in a child being victimized.

“If it’s creating a lot of drama, then you may just have to pull the plug,” Narancic said.

Local News
10/10/13

Man accused of using ‘Whisper’ app to lure 12-year-old girl

SEATTLE — A 21-year-old Lynnwood man has been charged for allegedly luring a 12-year-old girl to a hotel for sex.

Police said Ronald Peterson III admitted to detectives that he used the cellphone app “Whisper” to contact the teenage girl, court documents state.

The app advertises itself as a forum where you can “share you secrets, discover new worlds & make new friends.” Users of Whisper are able to anonymously post and communicate with other users.

Police said that inwhisper-app-for-iphone early September Peterson contacted the girl, who told him she was 14 years old and Peterson told her he was 21. After conversing via Whisper, court documents state that Peterson convinced the girl to sneak out of her home without her parents’ knowledge and meet him at a Lynnwood hotel.

Peterson was later arrested and booked into Snohomish County Jail on suspicion of second-degree rape of a child. He was charged Wednesday with luring and communication with a minor for immoral purposes. He has no prior criminal convictions.

In court documents filed Wednesday, Snohomish County prosecutor Mark Roe said that Peterson “is a substantial danger to commit a violent offense or otherwise interfere with the administration of justice” and requested his bail be set at $100,000.

Roe also asked that Peterson have no contact with the teenage girl or frequent areas where children congregate.

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