Police are investigating a series of Whatsapp messages between an 11-year-old girl and a 35-year-old man, after screen shots of their conversation surfaced on social media.
The Children's Authority has also become involved in the matter and is advising parents and guardians to be aware that “sexual grooming is a reality and a crime.”
Many on social media were angered when screenshots of the conversation between the man and the minor were posted and shared over 4,000 times.
In one of the messages posted, the parent got involved and questioned the married man, and asked where he got the child's number. The man responded by saying on a dating site.
In a release from the Children's Authority, stated, “Sexual grooming occurs when an adult befriends a child by building a close relationship in order to gain the child's trust, with the intention of later engaging the child in sexual activity.”
The Authority referred to the Children Act, 2012, which states that a person who commits such an offence is liable “to a fine of fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for ten years or on conviction on indictment, to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars and to imprisonment for twenty years.”
The Authority advised that parents and guardians, “to get to know the adults with whom their child interacts whether it is in person or online. They should also pay attention to adults who give unwarranted gifts or want to spend time alone with a child. Children should also be taught not to give out personal information online.”
It also stated that is a parent or guardian suspects sexual grooming, they should take the evidence and any information about the alleged perpetrator to the Police and report the matter to the Authority's hotlines at 996 or 800-2014.
In another series of screenshots, another married man has been speaking with a 15 year-old-year. Their conversation is graphic as the man also sent nude photos.
In these conversation the man admits he is married and wants to meet the young woman on Saturday at a KFC outlet. The man asked the teen to delete the message fearing he would get into trouble.