This is possibly one of the most convoluted stories about child solicitation I’ve ever posted about and that covers quite a long stretch.
A family in Utah bought their nine-year-old daughter a used smartphone last November. It seems that the phone may not have been restored to factory settings before being given to the girl.
The 9-year-old tried opening a Facebook account on the phone, but the phone’s old settings connected the Facebook account to that of a 20-year-old woman.
29-year-old Taylor Joshua Bishop of West Jordan, Utah is said to have messaged the girl thinking that he was messaging his 20-year-old friend. When the girl told Bishop that she was only nine, Bishop allegedly asked the girl for explicit pictures and asked her if she would meet him at a motel for sex. If I had to guess he was probably going to send an Uber to her home as that seems to be all the craze lately among creepers.
Thankfully, the girl’s parents discovered the conversations and contacted police.
According to reports, Bishop’s defense is that he was ‘just playing around.’ Ah yes, the good old ‘it was just a joke’ defense. People always joke with nine-year-old girls about taking them to motels.
This shows what lengths predators will go to in order to find a target. This story reminds me of another convoluted story from years back where there was a man advertising his services as a handyman on craigslist. One suspect responded to the man’s ad asking if he could have sex with the handyman’s children for money.
There are some other lessons to be gained here as well. If you’re getting a used smartphone, check to make sure the owner didn’t leave all their stuff on it. Be a good Samaritan and restore the phone to factory settings. And props to the parents for calling police, but a nine-year-old doesn’t need to be on any social media platforms. This includes so-called ‘innocent’ platforms like Facebook and TikTok. I wished we lived in a simpler world where we wouldn’t have to worry about things like online predators, but that’s the unfortunate reality we have.