Tuesday, March 2, 2010

High school predator stalks Facebook

In Wisconsin a darker side of Facebook was revealed last December when Anthony Stanci plead no contest to two felonies. It must have been a plea bargain, because the 19 year old had blackmailed at least seven of his fellow students for sex. Between 2007 and 2008 he had a Facebook page that he used to trick male classmates into sending him nude pictures of themselves. He pretended to be a girl, and after classmates exchanged pictures with him (it's not hard to find nude pictures of girls on the internet), he threatened to post the boys pictures online unless they had sex with him.

Stanci might still be blackmailing teens for sex, if he hadn't been greedy. One of his victims had been unwilling to speak up to protect himself, but when Stanci wanted pictures of the young mans brother that was too much. He went to his parents, and the police were called.

Last week Stanci was sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to his lawyer, that is a fair sentence, and will give him time to rebuild his life after he gets out. That's really great, but I wonder who is making sure the youngsters who were victimized by Stanci get their lives rebuilt?

It's important we make sure our children know that they cannot assume that they know someone online. And that we remember it ourselves. Otherwise we make it too easy for predators to prey on us.