Local News

Cary police probing possible Internet sex crimes

Posted August 5, 2008 4:06 p.m. EDT
Updated August 5, 2008 11:11 p.m. EDT

— Cary police said Tuesday they have at least one suspect in a sex crimes investigation involving the Internet and a 12-year-old Sanford boy reported missing last month.

According to search warrants returned Tuesday, the 21-year-old suspect met and chatted with the boy on MySpace, picked him up near his home in Sanford and took him back to Cary, where they went to dinner and a movie before going back to the suspect's apartment.

The boy fell asleep on a couch and awoke with a man "sucking on his neck," investigators said in search warrant affidavits.

About an hour after the boy's mother called the suspect's phone number, which was an unfamiliar number on her cell phone, the boy returned home with a hickey on his neck; a juvenile-certified sexual assault nurse examiner also found a hickey on the boy's body, the warrant stated.

Police, however, have not made any arrests in the case and are looking further into a sexually oriented online community where young men are paid to perform sexual acts.

During their investigation on July 24 of the boy's disappearance, the suspect told investigators at his apartment that he performed sexual acts via a Web cam for their primary source of income.

That prompted investigators to apply for search warrants, in which they seized five computer hard drives, a DVD, a digital camera and two memory cards from the apartment.

Cary police say the case is unusual and that they are also investigating potential customers of the suspect who were paying for his time online.

"We're consulting with the Wake County DA's office about the case and keeping them apprised of the situation," Cary police Capt. Michael Williams said.

Linda Criddle, an online safety expert who worked for MSN and Windows Live, said the boy's apparent willingness to meet with the suspect was a sign of trust.

"Unfortunately, it's not uncommon, and the kids who are the most risk are the youth," she said. "A predator spends a lot of time building trust – a lot of trust and thought on how to build that trust and nothing in the time it takes to destroy it."