CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Clayton County Police have arrested a man they say took a 13-year-old girl from Topeka, Kansas, and brought her back to Georgia.
Channel 2′s Kristen Holloway was in Jonesboro, where police found the teen at a Dollar General on Tara Boulevard around 10 p.m. last Thursday.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
Investigators arrested 33-year-old Howard Graham on sex trafficking charges at his job at a Clayton County IHOP.
Police said the 13-year-old met Graham on Roblox, a gaming app that’s extremely popular with kids.
Investigators said that after two days of chatting, Graham encouraged the teen to run away from home. He drove all the way to Topeka to pick her up and bring her back to Clayton County, police said.
- Beloved Atlanta radio DJ dies from same cancer that killed his cousin three months ago
- Thieves are drilling holes in cars to steal gas, causing hundreds of dollars of damage
- Elderly woman pushed in front of car inside Piedmont Hospital parking garage, police say
Investigators said the pair had sex multiple times. Whether or not it is consensual, sex with a minor is considered rape. The teen eventually told Graham she wanted to go back home to another person who was also staying at the home, but Graham took her to the Dollar General instead.
The teen’s mother was able to alert police that she was on the gaming app. During a news conference, Capt. John Ivy spoke about the dangers of the app and why parents need to monitor what their children are doing.
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
“The subject got on there and praising these little kids, because think they’re playing on there with other kids,” Ivy said. “And they’re not. They’re playing with people who are preying on their kids. We’re extremely lucky we find this young girl and she’s alive.”
Graham is facing multiple charges including rape, kidnapping and sex trafficking.
Holloway received the following statement from Roblox:
“We were deeply saddened to hear about this case. There is nothing more important to parents — including the many parents who work at Roblox — than ensuring that children are safe when they learn and play, online or off. We work tirelessly to prevent grooming on our platform. We have stringent safety systems and a team of thousands of moderators who enforce a strict set of community standards on Roblox, including zero tolerance for sexual content of any kind. While we have not been contacted by authorities about this case, we always cooperate with law enforcement requests and promptly report any suspect behavior to relevant organizations such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the United States.
“The safety of users on Roblox is at the core of everything we do, and we have a number of dedicated features designed to keep kids safe while playing Roblox. We filter all text chat on the platform to block inappropriate content or personal information and we offer parental controls and features such as ‘Account Restrictions,’ so parents and caregivers have the option to limit chat to a curated list of contacts or turn chat off altogether. Users can also mute or block players that they come across in games and report inappropriate content or behavior using our Report Abuse system.”
IN OTHER NEWS:
©2022 Cox Media Group