GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – A 24-year-old man is charged with rape and is behind bars after he was caught in the Goldsboro home of a teen girl he met on Facebook, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said.
Alejandro Cabrera Hernandez, of Frederick, Maryland, is facing a charge of statutory rape of a 15-year-old, according to authorities.
The sheriff’s office said Hernandez was caught with the victim in the home by the victim’s mother on Wednesday. During the investigation, deputies learned that Hernandez and the teen girl had been in contact on Facebook and that he “traveled to Wayne County from Maryland to visit the victim during the night.”
Hernandez was arrested at the scene after the investigating deputy “was able to obtain pertinent information during the course of his investigation,” the sheriff’s office said.
Authorities did not say how long Hernandez and the victim had been in contact or if they had met before.
This kind of situation is one cybercrime experts say has become more common over the years.
Detective Michelle Savage with the Cary Police Department Cyber Intelligence Unit said there are new apps and platforms for predators to find kids on every day.
They’ll often pose as kids or teens themselves to entice their victims.
“You have this huge sea of apps and social media, and you kind of keep casting your lines and throwing stuff out there and seeing what bites you get,” Savage said.
Which is why she said parents should put something in place to know when new apps are downloaded.
There should also be open communication about what’s appropriate and what isn’t.
She’s investigated cases where kids as young as 8 years old will meet someone in person after talking online.
“It’s a little shocking.”
Savage said children don’t always realize what predators are saying is inappropriate or even illegal.
She recommends parents periodically check their kids’ social media and gaming apps, but not on a predictable schedule.
“If they’re given that device, that’s part of the understanding is, ‘I’m going to look at this from time to time.'”
Hernandez was transported to the Wayne County Detention Center where he is being held under a $250,000 secured bond.
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