Urgent - Need Advice Regarding a Minor

PixelDust

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 17, 2005
Messages
13
I have a situation on my site and am hoping for some advice. We have a group of teenage girls (all under the age of 18) who frequently private message each other. Two of these girls have reported that another of the girls (14 years old!) has been bragging about an adult initiating sexual contact with her.

I want to report this abuse to the girls' parents and/or the police, but we don't collect any information aside from IP addresses on our site.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of situation? What should I do? I've never run into anything like this before and have no idea how to handle it.
 

PixelDust

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 17, 2005
Messages
13
I am in the US, but have no idea where this person is located. Should I report them to the police in my area? Will that be enough to make sure they're tracked down?
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,291
Not forgetting that kids that age like to say controversial things to get a reaction or to seem cool, if you believe it is true you should probably get a copy of the messages and contact police. With help from the ISP, they should be able to run down the originator of the IP.
 

southernlady

Devotee
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
2,450
Do you have access to their IP address? It’s not exact but it gives you a general idea of where to report. Example: I gave a member who posts. I happen to know whe actually lives in one of the outlying cities near Phoenix but her IP resolves to Ph. If I needed to call the police, I’d start with the Phoenix PD.
 

Joeychgo

TAZ Administrator
Joined
Feb 28, 2004
Messages
6,990
at a minimum, I would go on record with your local police. Make sure a report is written and perhaps they will have advice or people to contact such as the FBI.

That way, at least you can demonstrate that you tried to do something.
 

ThornInYourSide

Participant
Joined
Jul 12, 2021
Messages
74
I use DSL with a Dynamic IP address that changes every few days. One site Admin told me one time that I had logged in from nearly 100 different IP addresses, none of them anywhere near me. What they should tell is the ISP if someone can figure out how to resolve it. The ISP can back track to the subscriber.

If you can't figure out the location, maybe these people can help: https://ojjdp.ojp.gov/programs/national-center-missing-and-exploited-children
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,852
I'm based in the UK so my dealings with a not so dissimilar situation are perhaps not very helpful. I believe in the US, child sexual abuse should be reported to your local police or sheriff's department.

You might want to consider installing an add-on that allows you to read personal messages. I know this is generally frowned upon but it helped me establish the true nature of the abuse and that rather sadly, the abuser was also a forum member.
 

PixelDust

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 17, 2005
Messages
13
Thank you all for your advice. One of the other members mentioned the girl's parents have access to check her email box, so I'm going to email her hoping the parents will see it, too. In the email I'm urging her to tell her parents about this situation and mention we have the messages on file for them to request and view. It seems like her parents would be best equipped to handle this if I can reach them.

I also plan to contact the police and let them know about the issue.
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,710
Do not trust the email in this case because the girl has access to it. First warn the police asap you want to be wrong in this case but if true you’ll need to help the girl fast.
 

Kaelon

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 14, 2008
Messages
230
I agree with the other commenters here, OP. Go and contact your local police department, and provide all of the information that you can and offer to be of ongoing assistance. And then ask specifically for guidance on what to do. Then, rinse and repeat with her local town's police department.
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
887
Umm, before you go run off and file a police report ...

1. You need to first personally verify the accuracy of the report.
2. If it's confirmed, you need to preserve the conversation in a second location. This can be a screenshot, a print-out, or some other electronic copy of the conversation not stored by the website for your record-keeping purposes.
3. If it's confirmed, you need to notify the offending user and take action per your site's Terms and Conditions, including suspension of posting or banning.

4. THEN, depending on the severity of the conversation - such as any physical threats, harmful behavior, or request to meet-up - you may want to escalate to law enforcement.
 
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