Barrington police detectives were asked to investigate two cases of “inappropriate" electronic communication being sent to young teenage girls last week.
The first case involved an older man sending four nude photos of himself to a Maple Avenue girl, 12. It was reported to police on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
Barrington Police Chief John LaCross said the girl apparently has been “friending” just about anyone who asks for about two years on Facebook – since she was 10.
“We’re trying to find the identity of this person, who he is and where the photos originated,” LaCross said. “He could be a pedophile. We just don’t know.”
The second case involves “inappropriate text messages” sent to a 14-year-old girl at Barrington High School from an 18-year-old boy, LaCross said.
The interaction was reported to police on Friday, Sept. 13, by an assistant principal.
The police have copes of the texts and are investigating them possibly as a form of cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking, he said.
Both are crimes in many states, including Rhode Island, where cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment are misdemeanors on first offense with $500 fines. A second offense is considered a felony and could result in a two-year prison sentence and up to a $6,000 fine, according to RI general law.
Other parents may have similar concerns about their children’s electronic communications, the police chief said.
“Always call the detectives,” LaCross said.
They have information that can help parents deal with these types of incidents, he said. But it is still up to parents to keep an eye on their children’s activities on Facebook and with other electronic communication.