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Police discover inappropriate text messages

Police discover inappropriate text messages
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
A police investigation into local parents’ concerns about a Facebook “friend” has led to the discovery of some inappropriate conversations with children via text messages.
A Facebook post began circulating last week among parents urging them to check their child’s Face-book page and alleging a new friend was not a teenage boy but rather someone who was “after our girls” at local schools.
The parents’ concerns prompted Union City police to look into the matter further to try to determine the identity of the man, who used the name Joe Williams to “friend” several local youth on Facebook.
Today, Union City Police Department investigator Susan Andrews said the investigation is ongoing and police have since found children who had inappropriate conversations with the individual via text message.
She said the case is also going to be handled by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The Facebook account being used by the man was shut down within minutes after parents found out about it, according to Ms. Andrews, who said police believe the man is in Texas.
However, police are interested in hearing from any parents whose children may have had contact with the man either via Facebook or by cell phone text message after he obtained their number through Facebook contact.
Ms. Andrews said parents in Union City may contact her at the Union City Police Department at 885-1515, while parents in the county may contact investigator Angie Choate at the Obion County Sheriff’s Department at 885-5832. Parents may also make contact locally with TBI agent Jeff Jackson to report any contact.
Police are also urging parents to be cautious and aware of their children’s computer and cell phone activities.
For example, children need to know that personal information should never be given and they should be careful when asked to “friend” someone who is a complete stranger on Facebook.
Union City school resource officer Raphe Whaley does a presentation on Internet safety and is available to present the program to any interested school, church or civic groups in the community. For more information, contact the police department at 885-1515.
Ms. Andrews said Whaley is scheduled to present programs this week at several area schools in the aftermath of the recent incident.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 1.30.12

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