Mother tracks down Facebook predator who lured son away from home

Filed Under: Facebook, Featured, Law & order, Social networks

Adam BrownWhen parents nag their kids about not talking to strangers - not on the street, not on the playground, and definitely not online - this is the kind of guy they're worried about.

Adam Brown, 21, of south Wales in the UK, was sentenced in Cardiff Crown Court to 14 months in prison after admitting to meeting a child on Facebook, sexually grooming him, and talking him into creeping away from his home in the middle of the night.

The child and his siblings had been staying at his grandmother's house while his mother worked nights.

But when his mother came home on July 3, the dog was behaving oddly.

When she went to check on her family, the woman found that her son's bed was empty.

That's when the distraught mother turned into something of a sleuth.

She started by calling her son's phone.

He answered, telling her he was just out for a walk.

Prosecutor Gareth James described to the court what she did next:

She got back in her car, found him and confiscated his phone and later his computer, insisting he gave her the passwords.

The conversation she saw online between her son and the defendant made her feel sick.

Brown, who's changed his name to Logan Brown by deed poll (a legal document used in the UK and other countries to change one's name), started by posting videos of himself online, telling jokes and inviting people to tell him whether or not he was funny.

Within an hour of the boy - who's described as a young teenager - having clicked "Like" on the posting, Brown had replied, asked to be his Facebook friend, and started talking about sex.

Next, Brown said that he might kill himself if the boy didn't reply.

Here's what James told the court:

He told him he was cute and then made a sexual suggestion.

Then he said he might commit suicide if he didn't reply, and there was an agreement to meet up in a park.

The child left his home in the early hours and the defendant met him and gave him a hug.

The boy thought the whole thing was weird and returned home where his mother immediately contacted Adam Brown and told him to block contact with her son.

But instead, shortly after, he contacted the boy again, telling him, 'I have just spoken to your Mum - you are an amazing guy - all I want is for you to be happy' and following it with 'you and I are [going] to have a good chat later, OK Hun?'

When police arrested him, Brown reportedly said that all he'd wanted was to kiss the boy and that he wouldn't have done anything else.

Brown's attorney called his client troubled and vulnerable, telling the court that he'd suffer in prison.

But Recorder Wyn Lloyd Jones said that it was his duty to lock Brown up:

You preyed on the mind of a young boy, threatening to kill yourself and saying he would responsible for assisting a suicide.

Beyond his 14-month sentence, Brown will be on the sex offenders' register and subject to sexual prevention restrictions for 10 years.

This boy was extraordinarily lucky in having a mother who knew where to look for clues to help her figure out what happened to her son.

Fortunately, he got away after suffering just a weird hug. That can't be said for other children whom paedophiles groom on Facebook and other sites and then rape and sexually abuse.

A recent case was two UK men who in May were found guilty of grooming girls via Facebook, enticing them into meetings at hotels, cars and alleyways where they then raped and sexually abused victims as young as 13.

This is the modus operandi: paedophiles go online, meet and flatter targets, lie about their ages and/or identities, pretend to be young and/or wealthy and/or celebrities, gain children's trust, and then abuse them by cajoling them, whether it's by talking them into taking lewd selfies, creating Skype accounts and then convincing them to strip in front of a camera, sextorting them by threatening to tell parents or share images publicly, or even, as in this case, meeting in real life.

At this point, both Google and Facebook are paving the way for preteen customers.

Guys, here's hoping you put all the brains you have toward getting it right. Making the internet safer for children is crucial, as this case clearly shows.

To keep you and your family safe on Facebook and other places online, here are 10 tips.

You can also keep up to date on the latest internet threats by liking the Naked Security page on Facebook

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10 Responses to Mother tracks down Facebook predator who lured son away from home

  1. andrew · 415 days ago

    good onya mum for catching this. scares me to no end the predators out there and our kids wanting to be on the internet, and not knowing how best to protect them. it's not easy to watch everything

    i'll be showing this to my wife and we'll learn from this

  2. Anonymous · 415 days ago

    my question is why did she let her "young teen" have a facebook? I thought the age was 16 to begin with. My daughter wasn't allowed to have one until she turned 17. I have all her passwords as well.

    • Paul Ducklin · 414 days ago

      13, I think.

    • Jade · 414 days ago

      my 8 yr old niece has one and I know a few other people that let their young kids have an acct. I do not agree with it at all. My oldest is 9 and I probably wont allow any type of accts until she is at least 16

    • Riana · 376 days ago

      Good age to let her use these things but why do you have all her passwords? That seems like a violation of her privacy...

    • Anonymous · 298 days ago

      It's great to care so much for your child's welfare - so many parents don't give a fig what their kids are up to. But the problem with being *that* controlling? It forces kids to keep secrets. Makes them feel as if they're being punished for something they haven't even done. And when the time comes when they rebel against you and shit goes wrong... They'll probably be too shit scared to come to you for help.

      Don't think your teen doesn't know how to create an email and fb account that you're not aware of, and wipe their history so you can't track 'em.

      • Anonymous · 151 days ago

        I agree and disagree, a child is born with a blank slate. They learn everything, as facial expressions, movements, and so forth from the parents and community. They don't have a set source of identity, it is forged by those they relate with. What I hear you saying is that every child is bad and can't control them selves. That is the parents duty, not the child, the child doesn't know better yet, that is why they are called children not adults, their experience levels aren't there to begin with. As far as rebellion goes, its a part of normal maturation.

  3. Paul Hysen · 414 days ago

    Obviously this mother has a good rapport with her son and this story has a relatively happy ending. This does however underline that the first and foremost defense against these kinds of predators consists of maintaining a strong bond of trust and good communication with your child.

  4. Anonymous · 151 days ago

    I say the internet is not for kids. This is a masked attempt to change the internet. I am a counselor, and I know you don't spank the child for playing with your expensive goods, you take them away, put them on the shelf, where they can't get to them. I don't want this change because parents can't manage their children's behavior. The internet was never meant for children, and no matter what anyone does a pedophile will always find a way. Government is always looking how to control us, and this is a great way (shame) to do it. Predators put themselves in places where they have access to their victims. It's the parents responsibility to control their kids, its not mine or yours, or even the police, and we have contraceptives, so if one can't handle the child give it to someone who can. The parent needs to monitor the kids online no matter what they do to stop predators.. In conclusion, society has many facets, the internet is new and needs to be saw as a tool for adults, not kids, just as alcohol and other drugs are. Allowing your kids on the internet is like allowing them to drink and drug, its dangerous and can have long term effects unseen till after to damage is done, then you will be paying professionals like me to help get them back to a normal functioning human.

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.