Suspect poses as cop over PlayStation
The suspect first told the victim he was a 10-year-old girl.
Oct. 15, 2010
The Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force investigated a man who contacted a teenage boy in Moberly through the boy’s PlayStation earlier this month.
They found that the man, who was posing as a Missouri police officer, actually lives in the Northeast region of the United States.
The MMIC Task Force traced his e-mails to that location, but could not take its inquiries any further. It concluded its investigation Oct. 4, according to a task force news release.
Task force coordinator Andy Anderson said he did not know whether the suspect would be arrested.
“That probably depends on the authorities back in the area where he resides,” Anderson said. “We kind of have to depend on them.”
If they catch the suspect, Anderson said, he would probably not face charges in this state because impersonating an officer is a misdemeanor and a non-extraditable offense in Missouri.
The man instant messaged a 15-year-old boy over an Internet-connected PlayStation game, claiming he was a 10-year-old girl, the news release stated. He asked the boy personal questions and became sexually suggestive.
When the boy refused to continue the IM conversation, the man said he was an undercover officer with the Missouri State Police Sex Crimes Unit. That unit does not exist, and there is no Missouri State Police department.
The Moberly Police Department contacted the MMIC Task Force for assistance. Task force members traced e-mails the man had sent using information from the boy’s father’s MySpace site.
Anderson said the task force, which is a member of the statewide Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, has had previous cases where suspects made contact through gaming consoles.
“We have seen it before over a multitude of interactive games,” he said.
MOICAC Task Force Director Joe Laramie said games are one form of communication available to offenders because they are a common use of technology among children.
“Offenders look for where kids are,” Laramie said.
He said offenders play the interactive games and contact other players.
“What it does, is it allows the bad guy to be able to break down barriers very easily because they're just playing the game,” Laramie said.
Recently the MMIC Task Force, the MU Police Department and the Boonville Police Department arrested a Boonville man on suspicion of enticing a child. The man had IM'ed a member of the task force who was posing as a 14-year-old online, Anderson said.
Anderson said it is not actually a crime for anyone to converse with a child over the Internet or ask that child personal questions.
“In fact, it is not a crime in Missouri for someone to try to talk a child into meeting them,” Anderson said. “If that’s all they're doing.”
It is illegal for someone more than 21 years old to have sex with someone who is 16 or 17, but it is not illegal for that person to solicit sex from that teenager.
“It’s a crime if the suspect is over 21 years of age and they solicit someone who is 14 or younger to engage in sexual conduct,” Anderson said.