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On January 22, APD Detectives were contacted by a mother who reported that her eight-year-old daughter had received sexual messages on social media. According to the initial report, the child had been receiving messages from a friend's older family member. The messages were initially sent via the friend's social media account, but that soon changed into the older family member using his own account. The messages began on January 19, and quickly escalated to profane, sexual content.
This behavior is consistent with methods of "grooming," however escalated far more quickly than is typical. Child grooming is the act of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family, to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. Predators can sometimes take months or even years to try and attain their objective before sexual abuse takes place or is even mentioned.
Detectives examined the sexually explicit messages and were able to obtain an arrest warrant for the suspect, identified as William Thomas Sweat. Detectives located Sweat later the same day and he was placed under arrest for Computer Aided Solicitation of a Minor. He was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.
For Warning Signs and Information about Online Sexual Abuse, click here.
William Thomas Sweat, 4/16/1986
100 Kevin Lane, Boyce, LA