GLENDALE, Ariz. - Daniel Spagnoletti did what any parent would do when he came home and found his 15-year-old daughter missing.
“There’s no bigger fear, period,” he said.
But the panic became sheer terror when he grabbed the iPad sitting on her bed.
“They had left a detailed, very descriptive conversation on the computer,” Spagnoletti said. “It was very graphic.”
His daughter Shelbi and her girlfriend had written a string of messages to an adult man, who had asked to have sex with the girls.
In fact, he said he was interested in a “threesome,” police records show.
“Yeah I freaked,” Spagnoletti said.
Shelbi and her friend were using a social media site called MeetMe.com, which until June of this year was called MyYearbook.
After changing its name, MeetMe.com has become one of the top 20 most visited websites in the country.
“It’s basically something you go on when you’re bored,” Shelbi said.
MeetMe.com is offered as a website or mobile app.
It’s kind of like Facebook or MySpace, but with a twist.
When you log on, it lists people who are online and uses GPS to show who’s nearby and how far they are away.
According to the website, you have to be 13 years old to sign up.
"There’s probably a hundred kids on there, and there’s only one thing on their mind,” Spagnoletti said.
Browse through the MeetMe profiles, and it’s clear to see what he means.
The site contains profile after profile of people in provocative clothing and poses. However, a MeetMe spokesperson said the site’s main purpose is not for dating.
The spokesperson also said that the website has had difficulty in the past verifying the age of some of its users and that there is the possibility of abuse.
That’s exactly what happened in the case involving Spagnoletti’s daughter and her friend.
The teens had logged on with a profile that said they were over 18. They were contacted by a 20-year-old man who asked them if they wanted to hang out, police records show.
After Shelbi and her friend disclosed their real age, police records show the man still agreed to meet.
The man picked up the teens and took them to a Glendale apartment complex.
Shelbi said the man and the teens did not have sex and said they only went swimming before her father and several police officers arrived at the complex.
“My dad pulls up and he has cops with him and I was like ‘Oh my gosh,’” she said.
The Scripps station in Arizona did not name the suspect because has not yet been charged with a crime.
However, Glendale police detectives have served a search warrant in the investigation and have turned over the case to the county attorney’s office.
The man could face charges of luring a minor for sexual exploitation, which is a felony, said Glendale spokeswoman Officer Tracey Breeden.
Spagnoletti said he is pushing for prosecution and also wants to warn parents.
“You’ve got to constantly tell them the horrors that are out there,” he said.
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