Florida teen creates fake online persona to catch child predator

I’M FELICIA RODRIGUEZ. I’M TODD MCDERMOTT A JENSEN BEACH MAN WAS JUST SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON FOUND GUILTY OF TRYING TO ENTICE A TEENAGE GIRL ONLINE FOR SEX, BUT THAT GIRL WAS ACTUALLY A 16 YEAR OLD BOY POSING AS A POTENTIAL VICTIM ON THE HUNT FOR A CHILD PREDATOR. JAY JARVIS IS ALIVE OUTSIDE THE FEDERAL COURTHOUSE IN FORT PIERCE WITH A BREAKDOWN OF THE CASE, JADE. WELL A CHILD ADVOCATE I SPOKE TO TODAY SAYS IT’S ALL ABOUT EMPOWERING KIDS TO MAKE SAFE AND SMART DECISIONS AND WHILE THE 16 YEAR OLD IN THIS CASE DIDN’T ALWAYS MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION. HIS HEART WAS DEFINITELY IN THE RIGHT PLACE. 38 YEAR OLD ZACHARY SPIEGEL WILL SPEND THE NEXT 120 MONTHS OR 10 YEARS IN A FEDERAL PRISON A JUDGE IN FORT PIERCE HANDED DOWN THE SENTENCE MONDAY FOLLOWING SPIEGEL’S CONVICTION FOR ATTEMPTED ONLINE ENTICEMENT OF A MINOR. AUTHORITIES SAY BACK IN JANUARY SPIEGEL STARTED TALKING TO WHO HE BELIEVED WAS A 14 YEAR OLD GIRL NAMED SHAYLA ONLINE, BUT IN REALITY SHAYLA WAS A FICTIONAL PERSONA CREATED BY A 16 YEAR OLD BOY WHO WAS TRYING TO FIND CHILD PREDATORS IN THE AREA. YOU HAVE A 16 YEAR OLD BOY WANTING TO TAKE YOU KNOW, THE MATTER INTO HIS OWN HANDS AND FIND THESE CHILD PREDATORS IN HIS AREA AND HE FOUND ONE COURT DOCUMENTS SHOW SPIEGEL’S MESSAGES WITH SHAYLA TRYING TO PERSUADE HER TO MEET HIM FOR SEX IN HIS ARE AS WELL AS GRAPHIC TEXT DESCRIPTIONS OF SEXUAL ACTS HE WANTED TO DO TO HER AND INAPPROPRIATE PHOTOS. AUTHORITIES SAY THEY NEVER MET UP, BUT THE BOY WENT TO POLICE WHO THEN TOOK OVER AS SHAYLA THEN ON JANUARY 20TH AUTHORITIES ARRESTED SPIEGEL AT HIS JENSEN BEACH HOME. CALLAHAN WALSH A CHILD ADVOCATE WITH THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN SAYS THE CENTER RECEIVED OVER 29 MILLION REPORTS OF SUSPECTED CHILD EXPLOITATION IN 2021, INCLUDING INSTANCES OF ONLINE ENTICEMENT LIKE THIS CASE. THAT’S A 35% INCREASE FROM THE YEAR BEFORE HIS TOP TIPS FOR PARENTS ARE ONE TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA APPS TO SET GROUND RULES, ESPECIALLY IF THERE HAS BEEN BAD BEHAVIOR IN THE PAST AND THREE JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER IS TO HAVE ONGOING CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT SAFETY. THE CONVERSATIONS YOU HAVE WITH YOUR YOUNGEST CHILD WHEN THEY’RE FIRST GETTING ONLINE ARE VASTLY DIFFERENT CONVERSATIONS THAN YOU’RE HAVING WITH YOUR OLDER TEENS ABOUT BEING SAFE. SO LOOK FOR THOSE TEACHABLE MOMENTS, MAKE SURE THESE ARE PART OF YOUR EVERYDAY CONVERSATION. AND WHILE WASH SAYS HE TIPS HIS HEAD OFF TO THAT 16 YEAR OLD FOR WANTING TO CATCH THIS PREDATOR. HE CAUTIONS OTHER PEOPLE TO NOT DO THE SAME THING BECAUSE THEY COULD BE DANGEROUS SO REPORTED IF YOU SEE IT HAPPEN, BUT ULTIMATELY LEAVE THE HUNTING UP TO LAW ENFORCEMENT LIV

Advertisement

Florida teen creates fake online persona to catch child predator

A Florida teen is being credited with putting a child predator behind bars.In January, Zachary Spiegel, 38, started talking to who he believed was a 14-year-old girl named “Shayla” online. But in reality, “Shayla” was a fictional persona created by a 16-year-old boy who was trying to find child predators in the area.”Here you have a 16-year-old boy wanting to take the matter into his own hands and find these child predators in his area, and he found one,” Callahan Walsh, a child advocate with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said.Court documents show Spiegel’s messages with Shayla, trying to persuade her to meet him for sex in his car, graphic conversations and images.Authorities said the two never met up due to Spiegel being pulled over by police during a traffic stop that day, but the boy went to police who then took over as Shayla. Then on Jan. 20, authorities arrested Spiegel at his home in Jensen Beach, Florida, after finding him in possession of the cellphone he had used to communicate with Shayla.Spiegel was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of trying to entice a teenage girl for sex online. While Walsh said he takes his hat off to that 16-year-old boy for wanting to catch Spiegel, he cautions other people from doing the same thing because the predators they encounter could be dangerous.He encourages people to report exploitation if they see it happening, but to leave the hunting and investigating up to law enforcement.

A Florida teen is being credited with putting a child predator behind bars.

In January, Zachary Spiegel, 38, started talking to who he believed was a 14-year-old girl named “Shayla” online. But in reality, “Shayla” was a fictional persona created by a 16-year-old boy who was trying to find child predators in the area.

Advertisement

“Here you have a 16-year-old boy wanting to take the matter into his own hands and find these child predators in his area, and he found one,” Callahan Walsh, a child advocate with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said.

Court documents show Spiegel’s messages with Shayla, trying to persuade her to meet him for sex in his car, graphic conversations and images.

Authorities said the two never met up due to Spiegel being pulled over by police during a traffic stop that day, but the boy went to police who then took over as Shayla. Then on Jan. 20, authorities arrested Spiegel at his home in Jensen Beach, Florida, after finding him in possession of the cellphone he had used to communicate with Shayla.

Spiegel was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of trying to entice a teenage girl for sex online.

While Walsh said he takes his hat off to that 16-year-old boy for wanting to catch Spiegel, he cautions other people from doing the same thing because the predators they encounter could be dangerous.

He encourages people to report exploitation if they see it happening, but to leave the hunting and investigating up to law enforcement.


Contributed by local news sources

Next Post

Santa Cruz County reports first possible case of monkeypox

ERA:IK NOW TO 5 ON YOUR HEALTH, THE NUMBER OF MONKEYX POCASES IN THE U.S. HAS MORE THAN DOUBLED IN THE PAST WEEK TO 21 PATIENTS. HERE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS IS DR. SIMONE WILDES, AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST AT SOUTH SHORE HEALTH. THANKS FOR BEING WITH US. .DR WILDES: […]