A convicted sex offender is facing charges of immoral communications with a minor after he was caught sending photos of his penis to a 15-year-old girl on Facebook. The 15-year-old girl wasn't actually a real person, and that's the start of what makes this story particularly interesting.
The fake Facebook profile was actually a creation of a mother and her daughter's friend. After learning that her 17-year-old daughter was dating a convicted sex offender, 19-year-old William Elms, Julie Myrfors enlisted a teenage family friend to help her set up the fake account to trap him. The two created an account for a girl named "Ashley," who they listed as 15 years old.
Once they tricked Elms into friend requesting Ashley through the staging of a fake squabble on the network, "Ashley" stuck up a dialogue with Elms. Soon, Elms was sending pictures of his genitalia to an email account set up for "Ashley." According to the Skagit Valley Herald (Sedro-Wooley, Washington), Elms attempted to get "Ashley" to go camping with him and spend time discussing lewd sexual acts. "He also told her that if anyone asks, she should say she is 16 years old," they report.
Although Myrfors orchestrated this Facebook sting without the help of local police, law enforcement stepped in when they were notified of the chats and pics. Elms is currently on probation stemming from a conviction for third-degree child molestation, which is defined by the Washington State criminal code as "sexual contact with another who is at least fourteen years old but less than sixteen years old" when the perpetrator is at least 4 years older than the victim.
According to NBC News, the Myrfors showed the evidence to their daughter, who even watched some of the lewd conversations with "Ashley" live, as they occurred.
"My daughter didn't know we had done this. I invited her on to begin watching live. She started watching conversations on our fake little person,” said Mrs. Myrfor. "The hardest part as a parent was watching her heart break."
Facebook has a strict policy against convicted sex offenders maintaining accounts, and even monitors chats for illegal communications. In this situation, the parents could have notified Facebook and probably had Elms' account revoked, but I guess they wanted to do a little more than that.