Child Grooming & Abduction – A True Story.

 

Jim decided to share the story of how his daughter was groomed and abducted by paedophiles, in order to help other children and parents.

“Her mother and I divorced when Lucy was five. Her mother has some serious health issues, so Lucy has lived with me, almost exclusively, for 6 years. We are very close and there is a lot of love, laughter and music in our home. She’s my little Princess.

 

We live in a small, rural town. It’s quiet and nothing much happens. I thought it was a safe place to raise my little girl.

I don’t want to say what I do or where I work.

I was aware of paedophiles and grooming, obviously, but I never thought it would happen to my little girl.

I thought she was safe here, with me.

I was wrong.

 

Looking back, I was extremely naive, which is why I’m doing this. I wish I had been aware of the scale, method and ferocity of online grooming.

 

Even before Lucy left the local primary school, most of her friends had iPhones and ipads, Facebook and Snapchat. So, for her 10th Birthday, I bought her a second hand Iphone. She loved it, and it was great for me to be able to contact her, no matter where she was. I thought it was a good move, safety-wise.

 

I think we talked a little bit about online safety, but I know she had covered it as part of her lessons at school.  She seemed aware of it.

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.

 

Lucy had a close circle of friends and she’d have sleepovers, go on shopping trips or to the local parks. She was a normal kid. In such a small town, everyone looks out for each other. I always knew where she was and who she was with.

 

Well, I thought I did.

 

For me, everything changed on Saturday 10th September, 2016.

 

Lucy was having a sleepover at a friend’s house, which was in the same town, less than two miles away.  She had been there many times, and the parents are good people. I had no concerns at all.

It was nice for me to have a night off. I adore my daughter, but a day and night to myself is a rare and welcome treat.

 

Making dinner, I was hit by a sudden impulse to ring Lucy and see how she was doing. She’s a real Daddy’s girl and we send lots of messages. It was a powerful, instinctive urge, which was unsettling.

Her phone went straight to answerphone, which wasn’t anything unusual. Signal can be patchy in rural areas. I sent a message asking if she was having fun, with kisses and hearts, and asked her to send me a message when she could.

After dinner, I rang her friend’s landline, but no answer. I remember having a feeling that something wasn’t right, but sat down, clicked the TV on and figured I’d call again in an hour.

By 9, I was getting worried. It was unusual that Lucy hadn’t sent me a message.  I told myself they’d gone out for a meal or to the pictures or something normal. I was being irrational.

 

The phone rang at 10.32pm. It was the police. They had found Lucy. She was okay but very upset. They were going to bring her home but needed to talk to me.

What did they mean, ‘found her?’

 

 

The doorbell rang and Lucy rushed in. She looked terrified and threw herself onto me, sobbing and shaking. I folded my arms around her and noticed the female police officer’s sad smile. 

After Lucy had calmed down, she went upstairs and crashed. She fell fast asleep.

The police officer told me what had happened:

‘Lucy and her friend, Cathy, were abducted by a man, ‘M’, and an accomplice. We don’t know exactly what happened yet, but there was a sexual element to this. Lucy managed to run away but got lost. The sexual contact seems to have been minimal. With Lucy, at least.’

I didn’t say a word, I just stared. Cathy was 12 and Lucy’s BFF.

The police officer continued, ‘There’s something else. Has Lucy told you about the Snapchat messages?’

I shook my head.

 

APPS & MESSAGES

“I downloaded Snapchat for a few days, I think, but it didn’t interest me. It was clearly aimed at kids.  When Lucy asked me if she could download it onto her phone, I said ‘yes’. I was probably tired or just didn’t think about it.

Reading the messages that night was terrible. They started off light and vague, but it didn’t take long for me to see what was happening.

Having taken legal advice, Jim has agreed to share edited screenshots of the Snapchat messages from Lucy’s phone:

 

“The police officer told me that ‘M’ wasn’t a child. He was an adult, was known to police and it was called ‘grooming’. Lucy hadn’t been in contact for long, but Cathy had been groomed for much, much longer.

Cathy had given Lucy’s Snapchat username to ‘M’, and told her that this ‘really hot guy was into her’, that she should accept his friend request and talk to him.

‘M’ lives two miles outside our town. I’m not going to tell you his name and address.

Lucy and Cathy had gone to the local park to meet him. He talked them into going somewhere secret – an abandoned gas works – where he tried to sexually abuse them.

Lucy fought him off and started running. It was very dark, she didn’t know where she was and her phone had no signal.

She saw some lights in the distance, so ran towards them. Miraculously, a police car had been driving by and spotted her near the edge of the road. 

 

Before the police officer left, she asked if I wanted to press charges against M? I said ‘yes’ without a moment’s hesitation.

The guilt was almost overwhelming. Why hadn’t I known? Why did I let her have Snapchat? What the hell have I done? I crucified myself.

We were so close and I thought she told me everything. Why hadn’t she told me about ‘M’?

Those feelings quickly gave way to blind rage. It’s hard to express the level of anger I felt towards these men, but I’ll come back to that.

When I stopped at her door that night, her sleep wasn’t peaceful. Her hands were clenched into fists and she was grinding her teeth. I will never forgive those men for the anguish they put on her face.

 

POLICE

Two days later, we were visited by specially trained CID officers, and a woman from Social Services. I co-operated fully with everyone, and let Lucy give a statement.

I also agreed to give the police Lucy’s phone and iPad, so they could go through them and retrieve any evidence.

Over the next 6 months, Lucy was interviewed seven times. Not just about the abduction, but other events and abuses that she had witnessed. 

Once, she spent over an hour giving video evidence, while I sat downstairs in a specially designed house for interviewing children who were victims of abuse. 

She was treated really well on each occasion, and offered counselling and support.

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’:

He’s nice, Dad! He’s not done anything wrong!

I don’t know where I found the patience to reason with her. My instinct was to shake her and scream ‘don’t be so stupid! He wants to hurt you!’ but she was 11, had been groomed and couldn’t see that.

We talked a lot and I explained that I wouldn’t betray her. I told her she could tell me anything, and that I’d only tell the police what she agreed I could.

That wasn’t 100% true. I would email the CID officer if she told me anything that I felt needed to be shared. The officer would tell Lucy she had found out from someone else. I felt bad about that, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

 

The police were really good with Lucy. They weren’t patronising and they listened to her, but the whole thing caused her a lot of internal conflict and pain.

She was torn between protecting her BFF and her groomer, while not wanting to lie to me or the police. It was really tough on her. She would alternate between silence, denial, anger and sobbing.

 

CHARGES

‘M’ was charged with child abduction and offences under sections 14 and 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and released on bail. I wanted him imprisoned, but that’s not how the law works.

His initial bail conditions included him having no contact with Lucy, by any means, but he contacted her via email and her Xbox, so the police were able to place further restrictions on him.

He wasn’t allowed within the limits of the town, unless he had a specific reason to be driving through it. The limits of the town were defined by the 30 mph speed signs.

Despite being arrested, charged and on bail, it was very clear that the groomer was not going to stop. 

That is really important to understand. They will not let your child go, no matter what.

With that realisation, I became absolutely determined to make it as tough as possible for M to get to my daughter.

I resigned as manager at work and cut my hours down so that I could spend more time with her. She clearly needed me. 

It also meant that I could wait for Lucy’s bus to come in. Often, there would be a police car there as well. I walked her to the bus stop in the morning and was in daily contact with her school.

She was not allowed access to any device that could be linked to the internet, including her Xbox and Nintendo 3DS. Her world was severely restricted, and she was not happy, but I felt I had to do it.

She was not allowed to go anywhere without me, or have any sleepovers. I felt so sorry for her, but I just couldn’t risk it. The one occasion I let her go to a friend’s house for tea, Lucy messaged ‘M’, using her friend’s phone.

I had a small network of local friends who would help me. If they saw ‘M’ in town, they would ring me and I would call the police. 

This may seem OTT, but as far as I was concerned, myself and the paedophile were at war.

‘M’ broke his bail conditions regularly, but police found it impossible to catch him. You see, he wasn’t working alone. He had people who would drive him to meet Cathy, then act as look-outs, texting him if they saw me or the police around. 

Cathy was ‘in love’ and ‘in a relationship’ with ‘M’, Lucy told me. And, of course, Cathy refused to give statements to police, cooperate with Social Services, or surrender her phones. 


 

SOCIAL SERVICES

As a result of being groomed and abducted, Lucy was placed on the Child Protection Register. She was considered to be at ‘high risk of sexual exploitation’.

It is hard to describe the trauma of sitting in a room with Social Services, a school welfare officer, a CID officer, a nurse and an adjudicator while they describe the severe risk they felt my daughter faced.

I considered myself a total failure. I couldn’t protect my own child.

They talked about bi-weekly home visits, about access to her room, about therapists, sexualized behaviour, counsellors, strategies, teams, psychologists. They talked about weight loss and about the cuts to her arms and legs.

My little girl had started to self-harm. There were deep, dark cuts on her arms that must have really hurt. I could not believe that I hadn’t seen them! Some of them were very fresh, others had started to heal. She had hidden them under the long sleeves of her school jumper and pyjamas. I asked what she had used, and she said ‘the ring-pulls off Coke cans’.

When I asked her why she did it, she didn’t know. Kids don’t always know why they do things.

The social workers and police suggested that I search her room and remove anything from the house that could be used to hurt herself.

I wept when I searched Lucy’s room for hidden phones and razor blades, and when I locked all sharp objects and medicines in a steel box. I couldn’t believe this was happening.

Lucy’s behaviour suffered greatly. She had over fifty detentions in her first two terms at high school. She spent more time in detention than in class. She was disruptive, defiant, devious, withdrawn, rude and angry. She had become a problem child.

I kept thinking, ‘well, yes, I’m not surprised she’s angry! You’d be angry too!

When I got angry, I caused the Social Worker ‘concern’. When I defended her, I was being naive. Most of the time I tried to appear compliant and reasonable, but that was an act. On the inside, I was in hell. 

If I wanted to take her out of the county to go shopping, or to see her Grandad, I had to ring Social Services, so they could inform the police that an ‘at risk’ child was travelling out of the county. I had to let them know where she would be staying and who with, and provide dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers. Staying overnight without me was out of the question. 

I agreed to everything. My single focus was keeping her safe, so I did what was suggested. I’d have done pretty much anything to make sure she was safe. I trusted that they knew best.

Lucy’s initial social worker made it clear to me that if I didn’t co-operate, they would get a court order to remove her into care. That really pissed me off. I am still annoyed that she did that, but I’ll get over it.

 

GROOMING & SNAPCHAT

The grooming was initially carried out via Snapchat. It’s the platform that seems most favoured by paedophiles – for two reasons.

1) it’s used mostly by children,

2) some messages self-delete after a few moments of being read. That makes it very difficult for police to access image or text evidence.

I have to say that several police officers told me that Snapchat, as a company, are very slow and difficult to deal with in regard to retrieving evidence. 

The worst part of the Snapchat grooming, worse even than the sexual element, was the way M manipulated her into thinking that he was the only one who understood and would protect her. He was her best friend, her confidante, her Superman. I was the enemy, along with friends, teachers and especially, the police. 

And I couldn’t believe the speed at which M worked on her.

He took the normal insecurities that any 11 year-old girl has about her body and her looks and used them. He complimented her, flattered her, boosted her self-esteem, gained her trust, and tried to make her ‘fall in love’, like he had with Cathy.

Once he had her trust and the keys to her self-esteem, he could control her, by making her feel bad if she didn’t do what he wanted. It’s really that simple.

Lucy felt that she needed him, that he was looking after her.

I didn’t realise how vulnerable she was and it broke my heart. Reading all the messages was very painful.

Sometimes, a part of me would get angry at my daughter. I thought, ‘how can you be so bloody stupid and fall for this stuff!’

But she was only 11. She can’t always see what’s going on below the surface. She trusts and believes and thinks he means it. He made her feel special and beautiful and grown up.

She’s a child and isn’t worldly enough to cope with the level of coercion and control that M employed.

Once these paedophiles have control, they can start to exploit them. They can meet them, coerce them, get them drunk, drug them, have sex with them, video them, photograph them, even sell or trade them. It is terrifying.

 

BLACKMAIL

Girls of Lucy’s age are fiercely loyal to their friends. Friendships and their social lives are everything. It’s a really intense and emotional age, and paedophiles know this.

‘M’ and his gang would use blackmail. They would threaten to hurt Cathy if Lucy told the police, and vice versa. It was hard to break through that.

These ‘men’ are organised, clever and relentless. Once they have a child on the hook, they will not let her go.

And it’s not just girls. Boys can be groomed, abducted and raped. They can get to them via online games, through PlayStations or Xboxes, as well as phones and ipads.

They will give your children phones you know nothing about. I found a phone under Lucy’s mattress that she had been given by one of M’s gang.

They are ceaseless, devious and it’s very hard to stop them.

 

Even after I had taken everything off Lucy, they got to her at school. 

Cathy and Lucy would hide in toilet cubicles and ‘M’ would Facetime them on a secret phone or iPod. They were shown how to ‘piggy back’ off someone else’s wi-fi.

The school tried to keep the girls apart, but they cannot monitor every single child. 

 Obviously, I considered quitting my job and moving. Just get away from it all. For Lucy, though, leaving her school, her friends, family, home and everything familiar – it seemed even more traumatic. I wanted to keep her life as normal and constant as possible. 

There was also a sickening realisation – if there were this number of paedophiles in a population of 5,000, where was it safe to move to?

Jim & Lucy

RAGE AND THE THIRST FOR VENGEANCE

I have seen M eleven times. He has deliberately come to my workplace – presumably to try and intimidate or provoke me.

I try to be peaceful, positive and loving, but if I thought I could get away with it, I would beat him until he was dead.

Fighting the rage has been a daily process for nearly a year. I have some good friends who have helped, and I’ve used other techniques to help me stay calm – prayer, exercise and music. I don’t drink or do drugs, but I often wished I did.

There was something a CID officer once said and it stayed with me:

I would want to kill him, too. I’ve got kids. But, think it through – who will look after Lucy while you’re in prison? Because you would be charged, you would be tried and you would be imprisoned.’

I couldn’t let that happen. I had to stay focused on being there for Lucy. I would often feel like a coward, a weak man, a failure, but, to this day, I have not hit him.

 

 

A CHILD ABDUCTION WARNING NOTICE

The CPS dropped the case against ‘M’ and he was released from his bail restrictions on 23rd April 2017.

It is very difficult to secure reliable witness statements from children who are still being groomed. I’ll leave it there. I have to be careful what I say.

It wasn’t the fault of the police. They tried everything to get him. I have nothing but admiration and respect for every officer involved. They know he’s a threat and Lucy isn’t the first child he’s groomed and abducted. She won’t be the last. It’s one thing knowing, it’s another thing proving.

‘M’ also had help from other men who provided alibis, gave him phones, ferried him around in the backs of their cars, and let him use their houses or flats to meet up with children. They are as guilty as he is.

Police gave me the names of five local men who they considered to be a threat to Lucy and other girls her age. Police monitor them, but they can’t just arrest them.

Having local officers on the street was definitely instrumental in protecting my daughter. Lucy felt safer and it made M’s life more difficult.

The day after the case was dropped, M was served with a Child Abduction Warning Notice, at my request. It means that if he approaches Lucy in any way, I can have him arrested for attempting to abduct her again. 

It’s currently all I can do, legally. 

 

 BREAKING DOWN

 

I had held it together for the whole of the investigation, but ‘M’ came to my place of work on the day the case was dropped and smiled at me.

I tried to attack him and nearly lost my job. I couldn’t bear to see him smiling.

 

I took two weeks off work – something I never thought I’d do. It’s not in my nature to take days off or seek help, but I had to. I think I would have collapsed from the tension. The whole nightmare just caught up with me and I couldn’t cope any more. It seemed like ‘M’ had won. He was free.

I swallowed both my male pride and my fear, and went to see a psychologist. I had to keep it together for Lucy’s sake. She needed me. So I had to deal with it all – the sea of guilt, anger, shame, everything.

The time off and the sessions with the psychologist helped. I was grudgingly able to talk it through and get some perspective on things. I’m not ashamed to say that after each session, on my own, I sobbed like a child. 

He hadn’t won and he wasn’t free. He was trapped in the hell of being a paedophile and he would be caught. Not this time, but one day. He hadn’t managed to get to my little girl, and she would be fine. She’s a tough cookie.

Lucy has her own counsellor and I know she finds it useful to be able to talk about things that bother her. I’m her Dad, not her friend or her therapist. There are things that she needs to talk to other people about and I’m 100% happy with that.

I am incredibly proud of her. It has been hard for me, so I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s been like for her.

 

 

ADVICE

 

Firstly, you will have to fight to get your child back, because paedophiles will not let them go. 

You will have to take back the control. Talk to your kids. Have conversations about grooming. Get it out in the open. It’s dark and it’s horrible, yes, but it’s real and it needs to be talked about.

– Check their phones. Get access, passwords, usernames. Sod the tantrums and outrage. You might think it’s intrusive or over-the-top, but the alternative is far worse.

Keep up to date, because they can change passwords and usernames like socks.

They will often have more than one account, whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram or YouTube. Don’t be fobbed off. If they are being groomed, they will be devious. 

Observe them while they are texting. Look for anything unusual. Trust your instincts.

With Snapchat (or any of the social media sites), check their contacts and don’t be fooled. Groomers will pose as children of both sexes. They will have childish usernames, like Watermelon66, KissKiss, BaeBae, Daisylove.

Find out who they are. Are these contacts and  friends actually people she knows in real life? Get details. Check stuff out. 

No teacher will ever accept or send friend requests to pupils. 

Why is your kid chatting on WhatsApp or sharing pictures on Instagram with a man who works at the local supermarket? Question things.

If your child is being controlled by paedophiles, you will have to be clever and thorough.

Here’s an example:

Lucy asked me this morning if she could go out to the park and meet up with two friends, ‘Elisha’ and ‘Mary’. I said, okay, and we agreed a time she needed to be back and I that checked she had credit on her phone.

I also immediately logged into her Snapchat account, without her knowledge or permission, and checked her messages. It was clear that she was meeting up with her friends, so that was good. Had she sent messages that didn’t fit with what she had told me, I would have stopped the whole event.

I’m not interested in snooping or worrying that they may swear or talk about boys, I just need to be sure that she’s not being groomed. Do I feel good about it? No. Will I keep doing it? Yes.

I know the girls she’s meeting up with, I make sure I know the parent’s numbers and the girl’s numbers.

When kids are being groomed they will lie, hide things and you will know absolutely nothing about it. 

You have to get involved, be proactive and strict. 

If Lucy changes a password, I will know and her phone will be taken away.

– Don’t make assumptions about paedophiles or grooming. You don’t know what they are like. They are not stereotypes and they are not often strangers. They can be good-looking, affable 19 year-olds that your kids know. They are not all middle-aged men.

Paedophile rings have scouts. These scouts are older kids that help them catch fresh meat. That fresh meat is your child. 

– Your happy and innocent kid can be upstairs, right now, making and posting videos and/or vlogs, on music.ly or YouTube. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, get them to show you. Make it a positive, fun thing. They can be surprisingly enjoyable.

Just keep an eye on it, because paedophiles will scrutinise these videos for both masturbatory pleasure and to see if there are jumpers, shirts or blazers with school logos on. If they get a school, they get a location. If they get a location, they can scout, hook and take. They want personal information.

Can you see any geographical landmarks in the background, through the window? Are there books on their desks with their names on? 

Lucy knew M. He hung around the skate park. That’s why she trusted him. Lucy knew about staying away from strangers, she knew not to accept friend requests from people she didn’t know. M was a face she was vaguely familiar with. He was just around. He waited in the shadows until she was the right age for him.

You see, they have preferences. Blonde, blue-eyed, 8 year-old girls. 11 year-old Black or Asian girls. 5 year-old boys. 

My little girl was fresh meat.

– This may be obvious, but co-operate with the police. If you don’t, it makes it so much easier for the paedophiles. Trust me, a case can completely collapse because a family won’t co-operate.

The police are not interested in your lifestyle or your past. They don’t care if you smoke a bit of weed or if your house is messy. They just want to stop paedophiles.

– Do you know how to make sure Snap Map is set to Ghost Mode? 

I didn’t even know that it shared the exact location of your child. 

I’ve had to become tech-savvy, quickly.

On Snapchat, for example, picture messages will self-delete after a few seconds. The only way to save them is to quickly take a screen shot.

However, most grooming will take the form of conversations, so here is exactly how to save them:

Hold your finger on the text of the conversation for a second and an icon will appear from the left to tell you it’s been saved.

Again, you can take a screen shot and then send that to your phone or email.

I’ve learned how to set all Lucy’s apps so only her contacts can see what she posts, which means I check all her contacts. 

I link Lucy’s iTunes account and her phone to mine, so I can see all her contacts and every email she sends or receives.

If Lucy wants to download an app to her phone, she has to request authorisation from me. I have to key in a code that she doesn’t know.

None of this is 100% fool-proof, but it’s better. It means that she knows I’m watching, that I’m involved and I care. Kids need, want and like boundaries and conditions.

I recently read the transcript of a police interview that Lucy had. One small exchange jumped out:

Police: “Do you like living with your Dad?”

Lucy: “Yeah. He looks after me and cares about me. He is strict and doesn’t just let me do whatever I want.”

Police: “How does that make you feel?”

Lucy: “Safe.”

I still feel guilty. Every day. I wish I could go back and change it.

I should have been more aware of the risks of phones and X-boxes. I shouldn’t have let her have a Facebook profile. I thought it was ok. I was busy or tired. I wanted her to have what her friends had. I wanted her to amuse herself while I did my own thing. I wanted to be a cool Dad or have an easy life.

I cannot change any of it. I can only deal with today.

 

HOPE

On 3rd April 2017, a new law came into effect that makes grooming a criminal offence. The official terminology is ‘sexual communication with a child’. That is fantastic news. It carries a two year custodial sentence. It was too late for Lucy, but it is a major step forward. 

Yesterday, I attended another meeting with Lucy’s social worker and school counsellor. It was very positive.

Lucy is doing much better at school. She hasn’t cut herself for a long time and the scars are now feint.

She goes on sleepovers again and has an iPhone – with conditions and with the knowledge and permission of her social worker. 

Her social worker still visits once a week, but she is cautiously happy with Lucy’s progress. She might even be taken off the Child Protection Register in September – if they are happy that ‘M’ and his gang are not continuing to groom her.

Police, social services, schools, and a lot of local people know who M is and he is watched like a hawk. There are other girls, other families, that are going through this.

I know that, for him, it’s an obsession and he will not stop until he is prosecuted and locked away. 

I have made it as difficult as possible for M to get to my daughter, but, sadly, there are still problems.

This afternoon, two of the men whose names are on the list that police gave me, were waiting at Lucy’s school bus stop. 

I got held up and was running late.

They followed her into the nearby supermarket. She told a member of staff that she was afraid and they looked after her until I arrived.

I’ve spoken to the police, and they will try and have a squad car at the bus stop tomorrow. 

Of course, following a child into a shop, isn’t against the law. Nor is standing at a school bus stop and staring at a child. Nor is whispering obscenities or spitting in her general direction in the street.

It’s just scary as hell for a 12 year old girl.

Lucy is sat on the floor in front of me now, happy and singing, doing her homework.

Every day that she is free of ‘M’ is a victory.

I hug her a lot, tell her I love her and try to make life as normal as possible. I make sure that I’m there for her. Actions speak so much louder than words.

I’m her Dad, and I want to protect her. I don’t let her see me cry and I don’t let her see that I’m scared. 


I have no idea what the future holds, but, for today, Dad is winning.”


Please feel free to share this article. It was written to help other parents keep their children safe. 


Copyright © 2017 William Henry Prince.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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178 responses to “Child Grooming & Abduction – A True Story.

  1. Thanks for sharing. A question that I have is about Cathy & her family…?
    How have you communicated with her parents? How are they dealing with M?
    Thanks

    • As a parent myself, seeing all the police brutality online of people who don’t look like they deserve it, its bullshit that these people involved in the ring are not dead. you as a parent have every constitutional and UN established human right to protect your daughter by any means necessary. you had every right AT YOUR JOB to defend and protect yourself. your place of business and YOUR EMPLOYER SHOULD HAVE BEEN BEHIND YOU 100%. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO LIFE. YOUR DAUGHTER HAS A RIGHT TO LIFE. especially when POLICE and FBI are NOT putting them away. it is MENTALLY HEALTHY for you to PHYSICALLY PROTECT YOUR CHILD. remember that.

    • Unfortunately this article came to late to help me. My daughter was 14 and was sexually abused by a 19 year old. I didn’t find out about it until she was almost 17. He wasn’t in the country or I would have pressed charges. She is 28 now and has gone through counseling but even to this day she has emotional problems from what this monster did to her…

      • I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter. I hope that the counseling will help her enough so that she can move on with her life. Actually I had a milder sex abuse thing happen to me, when I was 13. It didn’t damage me terribly, but you never forget it. I was almost on a jury for a man accused of something similar on a 12 year old girl. I got out of it, because I was sick that day and it is a good thing, because those feelings about what happened to me surfaced and I would not have been able to be impartial enough to be fair as a jury member. When I saw him, it all over-layed in my mind and I saw him as a scummy monster, even though the trial hadn’t taken place yet, so he hadn’t been proven guilty. I realize that your daughter will never forget what happened to her, but tell her not to let this monster will and mess up her whole life. What was done cannot be undone, but there are good people out there including many good men. Help her to take a positive approach and have hope for the future. That is all that I can say. She deserves a happy life.

  2. Thank you for sharing!!! This is so real and if parents can see what you went through, and continue to go through, maybe they will be more attentive!

  3. This story is to familiar. It’s hard when the law can go no further… it’s beyond hurtful to see your child stripped of their innocence.
    It takes a lot of restraint to not take the law into your own hands.
    You are a good Dad…

  4. So important that you have written and shared so effectively.
    As a child groomed (without internet help) seventy years ago and a single mother who’s children were abused (with no knowledge whatsoever of the events but certainly aware of the consequences)
    It seems to me that unless you watch your child 1oo% of the time
    they will be targeted. Bit by bit your strategies have been built as a necessary means to a “safe” place to begin to grow to sexual maturity.
    Well done dad. The fact that you are the MALE parent will only value add to the result, just as a mother also victimised would work in reverse.
    More people should tell their stories, ignorance and innocence only serve to keep the supply in the food chain of predators.

    • That’s why Jim decided to tell his story – in the hope that other parents (and their kids) might have some defence. Grooming seems to be a worldwide epidemic and I think we need to look at why, as a species, we are going after young children. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      • Yes the perpetrators and particularly the men who resist the urge to act on their desires also need to be part of the conversation. This needs a much braver soul than mine or even yours.
        I think perhaps the stress and uncertainty of modern life contributes to the progressive earlier onset of puberty, sad we have to warn our children out of the innocence that childhood should be but it is that innocence that is the main attraction and also puts them at greater risk.

      • It’s so important for parents to realize that predators can be male or female and even be slightly older teens. Our 14 year old was victimized by a 16 year old and an online predator who still has not been located. But the 16 year old continued to pursue, including giving our child a secret phone thanks to the cheap ones available now. We felt that her life had already been irreparably damaged by the predators so we moved her out of state for a while to get her away from them with no access to phones or internet…or time alone with peers- which was important because we are not willing to perpetuate this cycle in any way. She seems to be thinking in a healthier way but we will not be trusting of anyone until she’s grown. She’s happy, she’s got an active life, she’s not hurting herself, so we feel very blessed in that aspect but the scars, the injustice, the time taken off work, the turning our lives upside down, the knowing the predators walk freely…we are trying to educate as many as possible. Thanks for posting.

      • My daughter’s predator (and abuser) not only gave her a secret phone; but also gave her rolls of quarters and instructed her to call him from particular pay phones so that the calls couldn’t be tapped…and so that her parents wouldn’t know.

  5. Hello. I work for a training organisation that provides training to people supporting vulnerable children and young people. This is a very powerful, true life account. Would you be ok for us to share this within one of our online courses?

  6. Hi, I would like to request permission to reprint this article into a magazine. Please contact me at the below address. Thank you

  7. Hi, thank you! I am there with my 13 year old daughter right now, your story fits to a T… We lucked out that the parent of the groomer found us, in time, just 10 days ago. everything makes sense now….

  8. Thanks for sharing, I know how hard it can be for a parent have your children safe. For me you are a super dad, on my experiences. So, I wish this story could be translated to other leagues so other parents could be advised.

  9. Thank you for bravely sharing this very important story!!! I’m so glad your daughter and you are working through all this…together. I had a scary experience as a child with my neifhtnor who was a sheriff. It’s so so important what you are educating people about pedophiles. It’s their full time job so they become experts. We think we “know” but truly we can’t fully know. Thank you again.

  10. Thank you so much for writing this. I cannot imagine living this nightmare. I would like to send this to my daughter’s email or print it but I don’t see that available? Am I missing something or are you able to change to setting so that I can do so?

  11. Sadly these evil people exist and the Law has gone soft.
    Why spend millions of pounds on the likes of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley – they should have been hanged years ago. Guilty beyond reasonable doubt is no use for fear of a mistake but when there is no doubt at all HANG.

  12. I want to make sure you know about BACA, Bikers Against Child Abuse. I’m not sure where you live, but in Cali we have this organization of bikers that really scare the crap out of child molesters and make the kids feel very protected and safe. They can sit at the bus stop, outside your house, your place of work, her school, etc. And what’s scarier than a crap ton of Harley dudes…? right. Look it up. Maybe you have a local chapter where you live. 🙂

  13. And if you don’t have a BACA near you, maybe you can start one! We need to fight back at the monsters!

  14. http://bacaworld.org/chapters/
    Is the link you can use to find out if there is one near you. Good luck! God Bless! I don’t know how you didn’t kill that SOB. I don’t know that I could be so smart about that. I’d probably hire someone to beat him to death… and end up in jail. You are an amazing father and because of you, she will be an amazing adult.

  15. It is hard to believe this crap is going on! I am terribly glad all of this didn’t go on years ago, when our 3 were younger!!

    • Sorry but it’s been going on forever just more people in the world doing it sad but true I am a Survivor

    • It went on. I am 71 and a man mostly attempted, but was partially successful in sexually abusing me when I was 13 and babysitting for his child. Sometime he would come home from work early, before his wife got home and get away with as much as he could. I was pretty naive, but I did realize what he was trying to do. I didn’t know how to handle it though, because of my youth and inexperience and it was very traumatic and embarrassing for me whenever he would come home early and try to see what he could get away with. At that age I was embarrassed even to buy sanitary napkins in the store, so I was super embarrassed and uncomfortable with him trying to hit on me and sometimes he did get away with some things he shouldn’t, because I was so embarrassed and uncomfortable that I just ignored it as if it wasn’t happening. Also about a year later there was a more obvious pervert living right next door to me. While he certainly never got away with anything and I wouldn’t have been too embarrassed to tell him off if he tried anything physical, the way that he talked and the creepy way that he looked at you was enough to make any woman of any age nauseated, but he preferred young girls about 12 to 14. Unfortunately he had a step daughter who was only 12 and my friend and he used to hit on her. She knew what he was trying to do and he nauseated her also. He was a sick disgusting man. After he was no longer in the neighborhood, we heard that he got some kind of cancer and had to have his penis cut off. All of the women in the neighborhood thought that it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person. I was also propositioned a couple of times at 15, by another grown man when he would drive me home after babysitting for his child. He just asked though and I said no, so that was it. It wasn’t really traumatic and he wasn’t even a disgusting person. He was a good looking 27 year old man, but still he propositioned me a couple of times, with no encouragement whatsoever, and knowing that I was only 15. These guys were always around, believe me. The other thing is your kids don’t usually tell you. While everyone knew about the disgusting man who lived next door, because he was such an obvious pervert, my mother never guess about the men, both of whom she knew, who hit on me when I was babysitting and I didn’t tell her. My own daughter, with whom I had very open lines of communication never told me about our 38 year old former neighbor, who was after her. I only found out about it, when I found a note he had written her. I asked her about it and I found out that there had been many other notes like that from him. He wanted her to be his girlfriend. He was 38 and she was 14. It scared the crap out of me, because I knew that he knew how to pick locks and that sort of thing. Fortunately we were about to move again soon. I told my daughter not to tell him and made sure that he didn’t get the address of where we were moving to. She had no romantic interest in him. She and I only talked to him and let him visit, (before I found out what he really wanted), because we felt sorry for him. He was kind of a lonely guy with either few or no friends. My daughter is 28 now so this also happened quite some time ago. These people always existed, believe me. They just hide under rocks until they spot their prey.

  16. Thank you for sharing. It is hard going through a situation with your child like that. And it is even harder when it is someone you have know for years and treated like family. But when you are lucky enough to see them go to prison then they get a brain tumor that can’t be operated on. Well I guess you can say that there is a God.

  17. WOW!! You are a great Dad with unbelievable restraint!! I sincerely hope that karma catches up with this lowlife M and gives him EVERYTHING he deserves!! Hang in there! I will keep you and your daughter in my thoughts & prayers!

  18. Thank you for sharing your story. I was overwhelmed by your strength, honesty and bravery. As a mum of 3 children aged between 2 and 12, I appreciate your advice. I have experienced the secretive behaviour and it is really difficult to balance their need for privacy and their safety. Well done for staying committed in your fight against these predators.

  19. I don’t ever do this but, i can relate to your daughter. Sadly, I am 23 and am still effected everyday by my “grooming”. Gosh i hate that word… It has come to mean flashbacks of secrets and confusion, shame and guilt. I think what is even worse is the fact that through every interview and every counseling session, you have to relive that trauma when the pain and confusion is still raw/ new. You begin to feel as the instigator and no longer the victim and wonder if you caused all these things to happen. You feel sympathy and try to protect the other person even when they have and continue to hurt you. You feel guilty, worthless and dirty which leads to self harm, negative thoughts/pessimism, depression/anxiety, suicidal thoughts/ acts (at least this is what I have gone through). It is hard to heal from this so the best advice I can give is to keep being patient and supporting your daughter. Maybe the reason i couldn’t talk about it for 10 years is because I felt like I had no one that wouldn’t judge me or that i could lean on for support. Anyways i haven’t “figured it all out” yet but i have to believe that things happen for a reason and that these experiences have not been in vain. I hope that your daughter can use her experiences to help other people and realize that she still has value and much to offer the world. She can provide hope to others through this experience and maybe prevent others from going through the same thing.

      • AW and. Prince Blogs and everyone, as a fellow survivor, I want to share with you an organization that I belong to. I am a counselor who is currently out of work due to illness. I now am a presenter for a company called Younique. Thanks the sales fund two important organizations. The. Haven Retreat and Defend Innocence. The Haven Retreat is a four day retreat for women who were sexually abused. Services are 100% free (except travel to and from Utah). It is designed to empower women on their journey to healing Any female sexual abuse survivor can apply for the service at my website link or directly. All applications and services are confidential http://www.youniqueproducts.com/tinabrittain or http://www.theyouniquefoundation.org
        The defend Innocence organization provides education and rooms to help parents protect their children from predictors and/or support their children of something bad has happened to them. These resources are at http://www.defendinnocence.org

  20. I’ve been really stressed out lately about my 10 year old daughter having a Snapchat account… For the simple fact that the messages disappear and I can’t monitor what/who she’s talking to. She’s a good kid, but she installed the app and created the account on her own while staying the night at her BFF’s house. Thank you for validating my fears and giving great parental advice. I had NO interest in Snapchat, music.ly, or any of the other social media apps aimed towards children…. That is the worst decision parents can make in today’s world. You will lose your children by not keeping up with their online activities! Take the time to learn about it!

  21. Thank you for posting this… Your words and advice really hit home for me. My Granddaughter is 11, and we caught her in just the nick of time before something turned out worse for her. I totally feel for you and your trials with your daughter. God Bless you and your daughter. You did all of the right things and through faith and sharing you have helped so many other family’s… You sure did wake me up to this horrible evil thing…! Again thank you very much.

  22. My sister has a granddaughter who just turned 10 and received an iphone for her birthday. She is so blind about her granddaughter. She thinks she is perfect and that she is so mature. Her statement on facebook was that she knows granddaughter will be okay because she is so smart and so mature. Would like her to see this story, so will share it, but I know she will turn a blind eye. So sad!

    • Show your sister this story and also my comment by Kathy. Her intelligence and maturity did protect her from a lot of things including sexual predators (she is an adult now), but looking back I realize that we just got lucky. Children are still children, even when they are mature beyond their years. I can remember how shocked I was when sometimes my child would make the kinds of mistakes that other children her age would make, because normally she didn’t. The thing is that even if they are emotionally mature for their age in addition to being intellectually mature, their emotional age is still behind their intellectual age and they also lack life experience. Even adults can be fooled and taken in by clever criminals and other bad people, so how is it that anyone believes that their child is not at risk or at minimal risk. It is really easy to feel that type of confidence in your child or grandchild, when they do function so well most of the time and to let your guard down. I made sure she was informed about things as much as what I knew myself and always gave her knowledge at least a couple of years ahead of when people think the time is right and it served her well in many areas. I did try to protect her and she was very smart about making good decisions, but when it comes to something like a child being groomed, tricked and threatened by a highly intelligent adult or adult(s), it would be enough. I was very involved in my daughter’s life and I also knew all of her friends like the dad in the story, but obviously even that isn’t enough. It seems like a minefield for parents and grandparents today to find the right balance between over protection and keeping your child safe from some of the scum that is out there. One thing that I did believe and still believe is that knowledge is power. Parents who think to protect their children by keeping them naive and vulnerable are not doing their children a service, although even with that you have to keep in mind what is age appropriate and that might be different for different children. You kind of have to be intuitive about that. Just talk to your sister and make sure she realizes that even children with intelligence and maturity well beyond their age are still children and also for most children and even adults the process of maturing tends to be uneven.

  23. Thank you for sharing your story. My daughter and son are safer due to your bravery in informing me. I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through what you went through but I can sympathize with your anger. You are brave and strong for NOT acting on the anger. As a man who would kill and die for his kids I can’t imagine having to have that level of restraint. I hope you both are doing better every day. Stay strong dad. It’s what we do!

  24. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing. Your transparency and vulnerability are moving and inspiring. I actually teach parents how to use social media and protect their teen. As I’ve worked with teens through my non-profit and have social media experience in the corporate world and in my personal life, I decided to bridge the two to help parents not be so naive. I would love to give you free access to my course and a discount code for anyone you’d refer if you’re interested? Feel free to email me at ainsleybritain@gmail.com if so. Here is my website: http://www.ainsleybritain.com/map/

  25. Wow, this is a very powerful story, thank you so much for sharing. This definitely makes me want to become more educated on this issue and become more proactive in what is going on in my children’s worlds. I pray that you sharing your story will help others in the future and prevent this horrible acts against children from happening to others.

  26. Thank you for sharing!
    There was a movie with Clive Owen – “Trust”, telling similar story… for somebody who wants more information on situations like this one.
    Just wondering: what if you made a poster with a title “Warning –
    Pedophiles!!!”, pictures of all 5 of those low-lives starting with ‘M’, and short description of what they do; put it on every comer / information board of your small town? Would that made a difference? I bet most of the parents have no idea what’s going on in their neighborhood…
    Stay strong.

  27. Thank you for sharing this. I am sickened that you and your daughter have had to go through this. I am the primary parent of my 5 year old daughter and need to understand this kind of sickness to better protect my daughter. All the best.

  28. My dad told me to read this whole blog and I found it very helpful, I am a young girl and I was wondering about getting social media. I have done a lot of research and I decided that social media is a bit risky, and so I will not.
    This is very upsetting to see children having this happen to them. Some if my friends this has happened too, and it’s quit scary.
    Thank you so much for sharing Lucy’s story it was very helpful.
    I’m Also glad to hear she is doing better.
    I will definatly talk to my parents about grooming a abduction.

  29. Reading this is like deja vu. My daughter that is 12, but was 11 when this started was talking to someone on something called roblux. He first said he was 12, then 16, then 18 this winter. We thought we had it all taken care of however 2 months ago he found her again and they started talking. I took the information to the local police station with my concerns and my daughter with me. They did not seem very interested in helping me find out who the person is or anything. The advice I was given was to keep her off of the site. Any help you can offer? I feel like this is a little more important than just try to keep her off the site. We are from a small town and I have other young children. Feeling a bit frustrated that they didn’t even want to attempt to find out who this guy really is or if my daughter is in danger.

    • Hi, towards the end of the article there’s a section titled ‘Advice’. Jim told me his story so parents could keep their kids safe. The main thing is to keep your child off the internet entirely if you think he or she is being groomed. If your local police won’t help, call another force or find a sympathetic officer. Keep trying because paedophiles do not stop.

  30. I just wanted to let you know how your article affected me. I was the one who didn’t have a father like you. I was groomed and sold for sex. Right under my mother’s nose and with my father’s knowledge. I am now 39 years old and have just started coming to terms with the hell I went through. Every part of me was moved by how you care for your daughter. It was what I dreamed of as I was going through it all. It was what I knew I would never get. I am so very glad your daughter did. You are a wonderful daddy.

  31. Fortunately, my now adult child was never successfully groomed. Although I did my best to keep her safe, I had probably too much confidence in her intelligence, maturity, common sense and also because she had so many friends of her own age, I had utmost confidence that she wouldn’t fall for anything like that, although I did intervene when I found out that one of our former neighbors had an improper interest in her. She fortunately didn’t return that interest, but I nevertheless made sure that he didn’t find out our new address the next time we moved. The thing is, I realize now, after reading this story, that I was probably too sure that her knowledge on these matters, very high intelligence and above average maturity for her age would protect her. I can see that any child could be a victim under the right circumstances and I am ashamed of myself that I didn’t take more precautions. The reason that I didn’t mostly had to do with I was also a child once, with an extremely high IQ and I found it insulting when my mother and sometimes other people would underestimate me and my ability to handle myself, so I went the other way. Even children who are very adult for their age and in fact people who actually are adults can be fooled by people and get in some very bad situations. Although I was never as childish or naive as my mother and often other adults assumed I was still vulnerable and although my child was never caught by any child predators, my normally very mature daughter would sometimes shock me by making a mistake that many children of her age would make, because children are still children emotionally and also they lack life experience. In this dangerous world today with predators on the Internet in addition to everywhere else, it has to be a very difficult job to keep them safe. I got very lucky with my daughter and I wasn’t totally wrong in trusting that certain factors in her life and in her personality would protect her, but when I look back i realize that it only goes so far. It worked out for us, my daughter and I, but from reading this story I realize that I should have been more vigilant. Fortunately my daughter prosecutes criminals in court and will probably be more aware than I ever was of these things when she starts her family.

  32. Its all about time. Time that u spent with the child. When u know there is this kind of danger u simply must have the child behind you mentally and invest enough time to get its understanding. This whole police thing and talking about stuff is extremly traumatic. Same as locking down its world. No phones, no internet and all the time guarded. Its very confusing and can make the kid rly think that u all are against him/her. All the while its “friend” prepared her/him for that long ago trust me. U need to fill that role this abuser filled. U need to prove that u can talk about everything, be honest make him her feel important, loved and interesting. All that in a way it can understand. Only then in time it will understand the difference between normal relations and that with a predator

    • Just a comment, something that comes to mind after reading this comment. It is not aimed at any parent in particular and certainly not at the parent who wrote the original blog.

      I am thinking that many parents talk down to their children too much and don’t give them the respect they deserve as intelligent human beings. Just because they have a lot of learning and growing to do before they mature and become adults, don’t underrate them or over-infantilism them. They know it and it makes them feel devalued and shuts down lines of communication. In some cases it may open a way for a child predator to begin the grooming process. It’s just a thought. In any case it certainly doesn’t do anything to contribute to a good parent child relationship.

  33. My brother went through this when he was in high school…it was a “family friend” and right under our noses. This person made my brother believe that my mom wanted to see him in the shower and he told my mom that my brother wanted a lock put on her bedroom door that led into the bathroom…when, in reality, my brother had asked this man to put a lock on his (the man’s) bathroom door at his house. My brother had become close to this person because my mom is a single mom of four, owns a business, and always did/does the best she could/can. My brother would hang out at his house and spend weekends there “bonding”. To this day we are unsure if anything sexually happened…the case was dropped the same way this one was with Lucy. The man bought him a PlayStation 3 and a cellphone. We didn’t find out about any of this until my brother was so deep down the hole into drugs and drinking…we were so worried because he was always a great and respectful kid. During this time of unknown happenings, my brother was so distant and had no friends and did nothing with anyone (including my mom, whom he was extremely close to). I do believe that something sexual happened because up until this last year (he is now going to be 21) and in the last 3 years he has been arrested multiple times for drug use, sale, and DWI(s). He has lost his license for at least 1 year. I have supported him in court on at least two occasions.He drove his car into a tree before having his license revoked, n hopes that he would die. I have no doubt that he is still using weed but that is the least of my worries as long as he isn’t driving (can’t currently) and isn’t harming himself or anyone else. He has come a long way lately and is doing very well…but the entire traumatic event will stick with him until the day he dies…I feel so horrible for him. He is strong, yes, but he is not bulletproof. Our lives, especially his have changed with no return to the way they used to be ever. We get through one day at a time but still cry when I am alone…My mom and I have seen him man MANY times around the town my mom lives in. He is very well known and friends with many people…so it’s hard for anyone to believe us when they hear what happened. There is another MAN (much older than my brother) who was around my brother’s age when everything started but never got away from it. He and his family (children involved) are very close friends with him and I constantly worry about what will happen to those poor babies.

    I will share this on my Facebook profile to make other parents, friends, etc. aware of what grooming is and how to attempt to avoid it and protect children.

    Thank you so much for sharing the delicate details of your situation.

    • I’m so sorry for what happened to your brother. It is becoming clear that this is a global and incredibly common problem. It needs to be addressed quickly and fully.

      Thank you so much for reading this story and sharing your experiences.

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