22-year-old Justin Watson of Sunnyvale, California was recently arrested on child sex crime charges. Watson is said to have picked up his 15-year-old victim in Arizona before driving her to Mountain View. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the victim was from Flagstaff. That’s at least a 24-hour round trip drive.
Police in Mountain View were tipped off by Watson’s wife. She is said to have told police that Watson met an underage girl on Snapchat and brought her to Mountain View.
When police finally caught up to Watson, they found the girl sitting in his car outside of a Target where she said she was waiting for her ‘boyfriend’. Watson exited the store and was arrested.
While Watson hasn’t been charged specifically with child trafficking, underage victims referring to their traffickers as their boyfriend is nothing new. Traffickers and pimps will often convince their victims that they’re in a romantic relationship before turning them out.
So what has Watson been charged with? Well…
He was arrested for suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse, oral copulation with a person under the age of 18, oral copulation with a minor by force, fear or distress, showing or sending harmful material to seduce a minor, contacting a minor with the intent to commit certain felonies and sexual penetration with a minor, according to authorities.
And it’s believed that Watson may have at least a dozen more victims around the San Francisco Bay area.
Possible victims of Watson’s, or those who may know someone who was, can contact Det. Angelica Espitia at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 903-6364.
Again, if Watson is a trafficker and not just an alleged prolific predator, this is where child trafficking is actually happening. Social media is the greatest tool of both the trafficker and the predator. If you’re not paying attention to your kids’ social media activity, you’re leaving the door open for all sorts of criminal opportunists.