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Students foil potential Facebook predator

WEST POINT, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - A group of parents felt a sense of relief after an assembly stopped a potential predator from reaching young girls at West Point Junior High.
WEST POINT, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - A group of parents felt a sense of relief after an assembly stopped a potential predator from reaching young girls at West Point Junior High.

"I'm so glad we had that assembly," Kristy Larsen said.

Larsen has an eighth grade daughter at West Point.  Last week, she reported something strange.

"My daughter told me that many of her friends had been contacted through facebook by a strange man that they didn't know," Larsen said.

The man had allegedly used a fake facebook account to ask hundreds of female students to be friends.  After at least 30 girls accepted, their friendship took a turn.

"He had said some inappropriate things to some of the girls," Larsen said.  "That was very concerning as a parent." 

The Davis County Sheriff's Department sprang into action immediately.

"We were concerned because of the large volume of girls that was contacted," Deputy Geoff Hasty said.

Hasty told ABC4 Utah the man was posing as an 18 to 25 year old and used facebook to link to girls on twitter and snapchat.  Students at West Point apparently were not his only target.

"We received reports from the students who had other friends on facebook who had friended this individual as far as North Ogden and possibly as far south as the south end of the county," Hasty said.

Officers said none of the girls agreed to meet the man face to face.  In West Point, that may be because just a week before the requests were sent, a private company held an assembly on internet safety.  Larson said for her daughter it made a major impression.

"Specifically they said not to give any personal information about yourself," she said.

Hasty agreed.  "We believe that because of that safety presentation so many of the girls came forward." 

Many of those girls left facebook. 

"It was scary and frightening to my daughter and some of her friends," Larsen said.

According to officers, that fake facebook account used to target girls is now nowhere to be found.

The Davis County Sheriff's Department told ABC4 Utah no arrest was made in the case.  Turns out nothing illegal was done.  In addition, no face to face contact was made with girls so the identity of the potential predator is unknown. Further investigation into the matter is underway.




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