Man allegedly hidden in closet of girl, 13, is charged
Their Facebook friendship raises alarms, police say
BY TAMMY STABLES BATTAGLIA
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
A 19-year-old Detroit man is in Detroit Police custody for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old girl he met on Facebook, police said today.
The arrest came after the girl's mother opened her daughterâs bedroom closet late Sunday night and found a surprised set of eyes staring back: a 19-year-old man whom she had discouraged her daughter from seeing.
âI said, âWho are you?!â and he looked at her,â the 32-year-old mother said today of her daughter, who was sitting on a bed across the room.
Nineteen-year-old Donald Hunter was being held at Wayne County Jail as prosecutors approved a warrant charging him with two felony counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, Detroit Police spokesman John Roach said tonight.
Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutorâs Office, said she could not identify the suspect because she did not know if the warrant had been signed by a magistrate. If so, the suspect could be arraigned as early as today.
The girl told investigators they had sex in the bedroom of her east side home, where she hid him Saturday night and Sunday until her mother found Hunter and detained him until police arrived.
The girlâs mother heatedly explained today that she tried to stop the relationship after the pair met online last year and she thought the boy was just 15. She canceled her daughterâs Internet service, shut off the girlâs cell phone and pulled her out of one school for another.
As her mother spoke, the girl softly called the man her first boyfriend.
â(I hope) I get blamed for it and he donât go to jail,â the quiet teen said.
She said she believes her motherâs vow to send her to a convent. âI understand. Sheâs right.â
The case has those who deal with troubled teens again waving warning flags about children using the Internet and Web sites like Facebook and MySpace.
âThis case illustrates that we must be diligent about monitoring what our children are doing on the Web,â Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.
Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans said in a statement that âan iron-clad conditionâ of a child being allowed to use the Internet should be for the parent to know the passwords to their childâs e-mail and social networking accounts.
Birmingham psychologist Aldona M. Valivonis, who specializes in treating adolescents, said Facebook gives users the ability to create the person they want to be â" accurate or not.
âThatâs just the dangers of the Internet,â Valivonis said. âI think Facebook really opens people up to danger. You donât know whoâs e-mailing you or writing on your wall. They just say âI want to be your friend.â"
The social networking site can also create an illusion of friendship for teens â" and adults â" seeking companionship, she added.
âFacebook itself is a way to feel you have a lot of friends, but theyâre not necessarily all your friends.â she said. âYou meet friends through work, or school or family. And it takes a long time to makes friends.â
Contact TAMMY STABLES BATTAGLIA : 313-223-4456 or tbattaglia@...