DALLAS COUNTY, Ark. — “In my opinion, it’s worse now than it’s ever been,” DCSO Investigator Chuck Barker said about online predators.
After months of investigating and arresting more than 40 people for internet stalking of a child, Dallas County investigator Chuck Barker had another case to solve.
“I wish this case never came across my desk,” he said.
This time with real victims.
“This type of situation is what we’re trying to protect our kids against.”
He says it starts online through apps and social media.
“It’s like playing Russian roulette, you know, you don’t know what’s on the other end,” he said.
The victims were 13 and 15-year-old girls.
He says they connected online with two men, met up and were abused for two days at motels in Fordyce.
“This is the reality, this is what’s going on out there,” he said.
A mandated reporter alerted Arkansas State Police who then teamed up with DCSO and Fordyce Police.
Jerry Marshall, 28, and Nicholas Robinson, 27, were both arrested and charged with rape and internet stalking of a child.
“I certainly look at it as demonstrating why we need to be as vigilant as we are in protecting our kids from those dangers,” Barker said.
These efforts taken on a state and local level can only be stregthened with education at home.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Thursday a campaign to empower parents by making them aware of different social media apps children could be using that may pose dangers.
“Keeping Arkansas kids safe is a top priority,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in a press release.
“Being informed, opening every app on your child’s phone and knowing who they are talking to are some of the best ways we can protect our kids from predators and online bullying.”
The apps include: Tiktok, Snapchat, Discord, YouTube, Whisper, Calculator %, Whatsapp, Monkey, Yubo, Tumblr, Chatous, House Party, Live.Me, Bumble, Tinder and Grindr.
See the apps and learn more at the Attorney General’s new internet safety site, here.