A Spring Hill man is charged with sexual battery after allegedly using a cell phone app to lure a 12-year-old girl into having sex with him.
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office says 23-year-old Tyler Dempsey used an app called "Whisper" to meet the girl.
He is accused of picking up the victim and her friends after meeting online. He drove them to a relative's apartment, gave them drugs and then allegedly forced himself on the girl, according to authorities.
"The victim was scared," said Sheriff Chris Nocco. "She was afraid because she is in a strange apartment. She didn’t know what was going on."
Detectives worry about the app because you can post totally anonymously.
@PascoSheriff Chris Nocco holding news conference about a 23-year-old Spring Hill man, Tyler Dempsey, who used a phone app to make contact with juvenile girls. He allegedly had sex with at least one 12-year-old girl. @BN9 pic.twitter.com/qLPKGWZR4K— Tim Wronka BN9 (@TimWronka) March 14, 2018
You don't even have to make a profile. You can then chat with people nearby, which happened in this case.
"It's a very good place for predators to hide and conceal their identity," said Detective Joshua Hanson. "And even though you may trust your children, they're getting lured in by skilled predators."
Nocco says the app is just the latest in a series of cell phone apps that make it easy for sexual predators to gain access to young girls. He says the dangers of these apps need to be talked about between parents and kids.
"These kids don't know what they're messing with. They're messing with fire. Spend five minutes with your kid tonight, talk to them about social media. For this young little girl, this changed her life," Nocco said.
The girls apparently told Dempsey they were 15 and exchanged phone numbers over the app.
Investigators tell us, Dempsey, who is an Army veteran, eventually confessed to everything, claiming he thought the victim was 18. He's being held on $50,000 bond.
Nocco praised the girl for coming forward. She went to a school guidance counselor, who then called the sheriff's office.