MEDFORD, Ore. — Five men from the Medford area are arrested and more people are being sought in a child sex abuse case. Medford police say the men involved are suspected of having sexual contact with a teenage boy they met online.
Back in November of last year, Medford Police were notified by the parents of the boy that he had been engaging in consensual sex with various adults he met online. The investigation revealed that the boy met the accused men via Craigslist and various smart phone applications. With the help of the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force, police arrested five suspects they believe were involved. They say three others may have left the Medford area.
“We tried to round all eight of them up [Wednesday], we were only lucky enough to get five, so we arrested five, the other three are still outstanding and we’re going to try to locate them in the near future,” explained Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau.
Police say the sex was consensual, but illegal under Oregon law because the boy is under 18.
“The boy is a victim,” said Lt. Budreau. “He is acting out sexually for all sorts of reasons, and it’s really going to be up to the adult to verify age, regardless of the situation.”
Officials at the Children’s Advocacy Center say parents need to closely monitor what their children are doing online and protect them from dangerous activity on the web.
“Just like you would need to know whether the child has left the house or going to a party or going to spend the night at someone’s house, the same thing holds true for a computer,” said Marlene Mish with CASA. “We wouldn’t want our kids communicating with strangers in our neighborhood, out on the street and we certainly don’t want them communicating with strangers online.”
Police say the teenage boy involved is not facing any criminal charges. They say it’s up to adults to make sure anyone they become involved with is at least 18-years-old. Police say there may be as many as ten adults involved in the case. So far, they have only identified eight of the suspects.