Dad’s Lessons From His Child’s Grooming and Abduction Are a Must-Read For Parents

Photo: The Prince Blog

Just about every day, you hear a new story: a child grooming that ends in them being harmed by someone they “met” via the Internet or a smartphone app. One story that has recently gone viral via the The Prince Blog keeps showing up in my news feed over and over again, and it’s a harrowing, tragic story, but one that parents really need to read. However, it’s also REALLY LONG, so I am going to summarize the lessons that dad “Jim” wants all parents to learn (not the hard way) from the grooming and abduction of his 11-year-old daughter, “Lucy,” via Snapchat.

The short version is this. Jim is a single dad who says he was “aware of pedophiles and grooming,” he was also “very naive” and never believed it would happen to his little girl. He gave her a smartphone and talked to her about using it safely and not talking to strangers. He believed she was aware and understood. He also says, “I thought it was too early to have a conversation about porn or any of that stuff, because Lucy was only 11 and hadn’t started puberty to any great degree. I felt she was still too young.” (Big mistake right there.)

One night, Lucy was at a sleepover and her BFF “Cathy’s” house when Jim got a phone call from police stating they had found his daughter. He was dumbfounded because he hadn’t even known she was missing. They told him that she and Cathy had met an adult male at a park, with whom they had been communicating on SnapChat. He then took them to another location with the intent to sexually assault them, but Lucy was able to get away before much happened to her. Cathy was not as lucky.

Jim describes his shock as the police officer said “Has she told you about the SnapChat messages?” Lucy had told the police that she had been communicating with the perpetrator, an adult male Jim calls “M” via SnapChat. Lucy hadn’t been in contact with him for long, but her friend Cathy had  been groomed by him for much, much longer, and it was she who gave M Lucy’s SnapChat username.

There’s more to the story: even though Lucy ran away from the assault, because she had been groomed by M for so long, she and Cathy continued to defend him after he was released on bail, and he continued to try and contact the girls. Her dad says, “At first, it was hard to convince Lucy to tell the truth. Not because she’s dishonest, but because she had been groomed. Everyone, myself included, became the enemy. She wanted to protect both Cathy and ‘M’.”

Jenny Rapson
Jenny is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor.

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