26-year-old Manuel Oppenheimer is accused of traveling from his home in Brooklyn, New York to the Charlotte, North Carolina area to allegedly try to have sex (child rape) with a 14-year-old girl. Oppenheimer is said to have met the girl on the video chat site Omegle. He then continued to communicate with the girl on Snapchat.
For those of you who may not know, Omegle is a video chat website that connects random people. Their motto literally is “Talk to strangers!” There is no real age verification on Omegle. Whenever I post a story about Omegle, I feel the need to point out that Omegle is not an app. It’s a website that any internet-enabled device can access. So if you’re looking for an Omegle app on your kid’s device, you’re not going to find one. Instead, you need to check the browser history to see if your kid has visited Omegle. That is they don’t know how to erase their browser history. But I digress.
While I couldn’t find Oppenheimer’s preferred method of travel, let’s assume he drove. Creeps like this always seem to make the drive or take a bus. Anyway, that trip takes around 13 hours and over 600+ miles.
Oppenheimer reportedly pressed the girl to meet in April because he was worried he wouldn’t be able to in May because of prospective stay at home measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So not only was this guy willing to make the long trip from NY to NC he was also willing to risk getting coronavirus in one of the seven states he traveled through. All to meet a 14-year-old girl that he could potentially rape. Since Oppenheimer crossed state lines, he’s being held in federal custody on a charge of traveling across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a minor.
Please keep in mind that any device with a web browser, an internet connection, and a camera can access the video chats on Omegle. If you let your kids use one of these devices without supervision, it’s like leaving an open window into your kid’s room for predators to leap in.