Police discuss dangers of online dating in light of internet sex crime investigation
In light of a recent Internet sex crime investigation out of Onslow County, NewsChannel 12 talked to Jacksonville Police about the dangers of online dating.
"It's so easy to put a false name in there, to download a picture and drop a picture on these sites," said Sgt. Mark Ketchum with the Jacksonville Police Department. "That's what makes it much more dangerous, if you will, for those who are trying to be legitimate, you know, because they just don't know who they're talking to."
One man contacted contacted NewsChannel 12 Friday, saying he was a victim. He said he worked up the courage to come forward after seeing the original news story on Patrick Georges' alleged sex crimes back in late December.
"As soon as I saw his face, everything flashed before my eyes...and I was a wreck," said the alleged victim, who wished to remain anonymous.
Georges, 24, already faces several charges of crimes against nature and extortion involving at least six victims. Other victims accuse Georges of posing as a woman on the dating site MeetMe.com, and luring them to his grandparents' home on King Street in Jacksonville. Victims say that once they were inside the home, Georges was the one who greeted them. They say he began to accuse them of breaking into his home and threaten to call police -- unless they performed a sex act.
Some victims admitted that they gave in to his demands, against their will, out of fear that they would get in trouble with the law.
For this particular man's case, he says Georges posed as a white man on a site called Grindr, a dating app for gay or bisexual men. He says other than that, his story matches with the other victims'.
"I really thought I had broken into this guy's home, and someone was playing a trick on me," he said. "I told him that it was a big misunderstanding. I'm just trying to leave, I meant no harm."
Jacksonville Police have an open and active investigation, and encourage those who think they might be a victim to call law enforcement. They shouldn't have to feel afraid.
"If you're done nothing wrong, you've not violated a law, if you have a reason to be where you are at, then law enforcement will merely come and clarify that," Ketchum said.
Georges remains in the Onslow County Jail with a $120,000 bond.
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