Social Media, Sexual Abuse, and The Facts About Online Misrepresentation

August 7, 2019 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
A picture of a smart phone with social media apps on the screen
Social media, and in this case Snapchat, can be used by predators to lure young teens into giving up compromising pictures and videos.

Take a look at anyone’s dating profile online and chances are you’ll find that most people aren’t as honest about themselves as they’d like you to believe. Whether it’s make up, lighting and angles used to make them look 20 years younger (and 20 Lbs lighter), or simple a profile pic from a couple of decades ago, people tend to misrepresent themselves on social media. 

And when you include the use of filters to erase lines, add interesting features, or even change your face entirely, there are very few people who look anything like themselves online these days. Now consider how many people change their ages, alter their names, or misrepresent themselves in an effort to appear more attractive, or more interesting that they think they are. Essentially, no one is who they say they are online. 

It doesn’t seem to matter until we get to the issue of motivation.

If you show up for a date and you look 20 years older than your picture, the person waiting at the restaurant might be irritated. Or disappointed. But you haven’t broken any laws or put anyone in jeopardy. However, when you pretend to be someone else online so that you can take advantage of someone, or coerce them into breaking the law, it’s a whole different kettle of fish. 

Which is why 22-year-old Martez Hurst is in so much trouble. One of his victims, a young girl in Missouri, told an employee of her school district that a guy she’d met online had, after befriending her and gaining her trust, asked her for naked pictures of herself. She’d eventually complied, but then things got ugly. Once he had the pictures he demanded sexually explicit videos of her. And when she refused he threatened to expose the naked pictures she had sent him. 

Hurst admitted that he planned to sell the videos as child porn.

The school employee reached out to the local police in their area, and it didn’t take long to track Hurst back to his home in the Detroit area. Once confronted by the police, Hurst admitted to using a fake name and false pictures to create an online alias and use it to make contact with teen girls. He also admitted to pulling the same scam via social media on 20 other victims around the country.

According to the Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe from Missouri, this is something officers are seeing more of these days. “Individuals float around on the internet (social media) looking for minors to try to coerce them to get pictures of them, and then blackmail them into getting additional pictures or videos that they can continue to use.”

Defending against child sexual abuse is very serious!

Sexual abuse of children takes many forms, but child pornography is taken very seriously. If you or a loved one have been accused of coercing a teen into giving you sexually explicit pictures or videos of themselves, you are going to be in a lot of trouble. And that’s where we come in. At The Kronzek Firm, we’ve helped a lot of people fight child sexual abuse charges and win.

Don’t wait and hope these allegations will go away on their own – because they won’t. Instead, be proactive and call us at 866 766 5245. The sooner we get involved, the sooner we can start protecting your rights and helping you build a strong defense against claims of child abuse and sexual assault. Our skilled aggressive defense attorneys are available 24/7 to help.