44-year-old Theodore Therriault of Edmonds, Washington has been arrested for allegedly grooming and molesting a 13-year-old girl from Bellevue. Therriault is said to have used Snapchat to communicate with his victim because Snapchat can be set to have messages and images disappear after a certain amount of time. He is also said to have used rideshare apps to pick up his victim and bring her to his home.
Therriault was found out when the victim’s mother discovered an iPhone, perfume, and lingerie that Therriault is said to have bought the victim.
Buying gifts for their victims is a common trick used by online predators to entice their victims. Those gifts often include a device the predator can use to communicate with their victims outside of a parent’s control. In this case, the aforementioned iPhone.
Therriault was released after posting $50,000 bond. However, the bond was increased to $200,000 after Bellevue police said he may have more victims. According to the King County inmate search, Therriault is listed as released.
The Bellevue police posted some reminders on their social media which are not only on point but I’ve been saying the same things for years.
- Just because a child meets the minimum age recommended by social media sites doesn’t mean that they should have social media or need them.
- Parents need to be familiar with apps and safety settings.
- Set boundaries and realize if your kids aren’t always happy with you, you’re probably doing your job! It’s important to provide guidance and keep your kids safe.
- TALK OFTEN about social media. Talk about boundaries, who kids can be friends with, and how to deal with online bullies. Make sure your kids know you are always there to walk with them through stuff they may be ashamed of or feel scared.
In other words, be their parent first before trying to be their cool friend. You may have the utmost trust in your child but you can’t trust the sheer amount of predators that exist in these platforms.