Tell City child predator lured 14-year-old victim using common tactics, experts say | News | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

37-year-old James McCollom was arrested by police after the completion of a month long investigation.

TELL CITY, Ind. (WEVV) — Tell City police say they arrested 37-year-old James McCollom after a month-long investigation. McCollom lured a teenager to his house and raped them, according to police.

Police say that through the app Snapchat for about two weeks, a 14-year-old was under the impression they were corresponding with a 15 or 16-year-old boy in Tell City, but when they decided to meet up, they learned they’d walked right into a child predator’s trap.

Kristine Cordts, executive director of Holly’s House, told 44News ”[child predators] are pretending, often, to be someone that they’re not–often to be someone a similar age to the child, maybe a couple of years older.”

The way police say McCollom lured in the victim is a textbook strategy used by child predators. Investigators say McCollom messaged the victim using the name “Bob”, claiming to be just a year or two older than them.

After two weeks of building a rapport and gaining the child’s trust, McCollom invited them to his house and violently raped them on March 27, police say.

Cordts said that child predators start the grooming process before they even make contact with their target. ”They first get to know the child and friend the child. Maybe they friend the child and all of their friends. Maybe they go to a school in another county. Maybe they play the same sport–build rapport with the child by saying that they’re similar to the child, and then the messaging starts.”

According to Holly’s House, cases of online child exploitation have become three times as numerous in as many years, with 98 of every 100 cases being perpetrated by a complete stranger to the child.

The process usually follows a pattern, and Cordts said one of the most telling ways a child is being exploited is a sudden change in behavior. ”If the child is no longer meeting up with friends and instead going in their room and closing the door and spending all their time on Snapchat with a new friend, that is a huge warning flag for the parent.”

Cordts said parents should sit down with their kids and talk about the signs of online exploitation and lay down boundaries about what apps your children can and can’t have on their phones.

McCollom is set to make an appearance in court on May 15.

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