Police are investigating two cases in which an unknown male engaged in a sexually explicit video chat with two teenage girls who attend St. Paul’s School for Girls, according to a release.
Police are unsure of the age of the suspect, who may have reached out to more than just two upper-school students.
The two girls accepted the suspect’s “friend” requests—the first was back in the summer of 2012. The second suspect accepted his request last week.
“Both told police they had opened and viewed explicit messages and entered chat rooms, where the suspect engaged them in explicit conversation,” the release from Baltimore County police read.
The two girls reported the incidents to staff at the St. Paul’s School for Girls, which notified police.
Head of School Penny Evins issued the following statement in regards to the investigation:
"As stated in my letter, our most important job as educators and parents is keeping our children safe. Accordingly, we communicated with our families and area schools. Social media use requires that we learn appropriate boundaries. It is a life skill that requires our thoughtful attention and collaboration with our families as we educate the whole child. I am incredibly proud of the outpouring of support from our families and students."
A preliminary investigation suggests that the suspect did not attempt to make physical contact with either girl. Police are working to determine whether a crime has been committed.
Cpl. John Wachter, a spokesman in the department, said if anyone else has been contacted by someone they didn’t know via social media they should contact police at (410) 307-2020.
Safety Reminder to Parents (from police):
Police remind parents to provide children and teenagers with guidance about the safe use of social media. Children should be advised never to accept "friend" requests from people they do not know; never to open email from unfamiliar addresses; and never to engage in video chat with strangers.
Privacy settings are a valuable tool for preventing strangers from contacting children and ensuring that social media activity remains safe. Parents should make sure that the privacy settings on their children's social media platforms are set appropriately and strengthen these settings, if necessary.
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