Tulsa Police arrested a 23-year-old man after he admitted having sex with a 13-year-old middle school student. The man was arrested after the girl's mother chased him down and beat him up.
The girl's mother now wants parents to be aware of yet another way teenagers are meeting strangers. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains what happened.
Tulsa Police say 23-year-old Patrick Tottress had been talking on a phone chat line with a 13-year-old girl who said she was 19. The chat line is called â€˜Live Links.â€™
The News on 6 called it and heard this message. "Welcome to Live Links where meeting new people has never been so easy or so much fun. Check out who's here and send messages or connect with them live for private conversations about anything you want. This is for adults only. If you're under 18, hang up now."
The web site also warns users they must be 18, but there's no way to tell who's using the service.
Tulsa Police say the girl and Patrick decided to meet Tuesday night and took a short drive to a dead end street, where sex took place. She says it was forced, he says it was consensual. Either way, police say it was rape. The girl's mother spotted them, attacked Tottress and held him for police.
He later confessed when he realized the girl was underage. Now, the mom wants to warn others about phone chat lines. Barbara: "It's not just the Internet and computers, it's also the phone. Block it on your house phone and on your cell phone. If you can't block it, parents need to stick together. We need to stop chat lines and get them off TV. Kids sit there and are seeing this stuff."
Tulsa Police Sgt. John Adams, Tulsa Police: "Kids think they are so grown up at an early age, but, they're not. They don't understand what the world is like. They don't understand predators are out there to take advantage of them."
Police say what promises to be a fun, flirty time, can turn into a time that is unexpected and terrible. Just like on-line, when you're talking to someone on the phone, you don't really know who they are, if they're telling the truth about anything.
Meeting in person is too dangerous, but if you must, you cannot do it alone, meet in a public place with grown-ups around to make sure nothing bad happens.
Kids often think they are so grown up, but don't realize how dangerous the world can be and predators have more ways to find victims now, than ever before.