UPDATE: Case of Teen Solicited for Sex Sheds Light on a Growing Problem

By: Cathleen Moxley, Jeremy Edwards Email
By: Cathleen Moxley, Jeremy Edwards Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The number of children and teenagers becoming targets of sex crimes via cell phones and the Internet keeps growing.

There's no clear fix to the problem, but law enforcement will tell you it starts at home.

“Right now, he's got a huge personality. He likes to be loud, likes to laugh,” Rachel Cash said about her 5-month-old son.

But Cash knows it won't be long until he enters a world full of cyber solicitation.

“It scares me for him,” Cash said.

Cash isn’t alone. The West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force investigates cases of enticement and adults traveling to meet minors.

The number of those cases continues to rise every year:

  • 2011 - 58
  • 2012 - 62
  • 2013 - 75
  • 2014 - 28 so far

The number of arrests for soliciting and child pornography is also rising:

  • 2011 - 60
  • 2012 - 53
  • 2013 - 215
  • 2014 - 65 so far

“It's an ever-growing problem,” Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper said. “The access is easier, and the technology is more advanced.”

Charleston Police officers are handling the latest case. Charles Wendell Turner, a 36-year-old taxi driver is accused of texting a 16-year-old customer -- offering her money to perform sexual favors for another person and then for himself.

“It turns out that the victim's phone was being monitored also by family members,” Cooper said. “This was handled properly by the family and the victim.”

It shows proof that parental protection goes a long way.

“I’m hands on all the time,” Julie Ann McKeever, a mother of three, said. “You should always know what you're children are doing.”

Because there's nobody watching what predators are doing until they get caught.

The ICAC task force does a lot of community outreach -- working to educate parents on warning signs.

As for Turner, he's now in jail, and because of his arrest, C&H Taxi says they no longer lease a cab to him.

Turner denied a request for an interview.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man from Putnam County has been charged with soliciting a teenage girl for sex.

Charleston Police say Charles Turner II, 36, of Scott Depot, texted a 16-year-old girl several times Tuesday and offered her money to have sex with him and another person.

Turner has been charged with procuring house of prostitution.

He is being held in the South Central Regional Jail.

WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
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