Police Warn Parents After Rape Arrest

- FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - Police say they are seeing more and more of these kinds of cases, where two people meet online and while what happens after may be consensual, it is illegal.

Elmer Acosta, 21, of Frederick, Md., is facing several charges including rape, after police say he met a 13-year-old girl on Facebook and developed a sexual relationship with her.

Police say the girl’s mother came forward after noticing a difference in her daughter’s behavior.

“This was a mutual relationship, unfortunately it was with a 13-year-old female and I mean this is where the State steps in and says this is a strict liability case,” said Lt. Clark Pennington, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division at the Frederick Police Department.

Police say there’s been an increase in these kinds of crimes due to the social media explosion.

Some computer specialists say while privacy settings and controls can be placed on computer your children use, technology isn’t always the answer. However, they do recommended using any privacy preferences and controls your computer has so your children can only view what they should be seeing.

“No matter how good the technology is on protecting and monitoring these things, it's not going to do anything if you're not communicating about the dangers with the kids. There are applications that the sole purpose is to hide the communications people are having, one particular big one with teenagers now is called Snapchat,” said Frederick computer specialist Jesse Lambert.

Fighting back against rape cases are challenging, but police say they are able to use technology to help solve cases.

“The crime of rape is very difficult to pro-actively combat because you're talking about private events. The majority of the rapes or sex offenses we see, as in this case, are acquaintances or known rape offenses,” said Lt. Pennington.

Police are reminding parents to stay involved with what their kids do online and are encouraging anyone who feels they may be a victim of sex offense to speak up, that help is available. They say to set passwords on computers your children use, and adjust settings for them accordingly.

Anyone with questions or concerns should contact the Frederick Police Department at (301)-600-2100.

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