St. Johns County, FL. — A St. Johns County man was arrested after deputies said he had sex with a child.
Matthew Webster was charged with lewd and lascivious battery of a child.
New court documents reveal the victim is 12-year-old and met Webster on Snapchat.
The victim told investigators Webster would sell vape pens and marijuana to kids her age.
The arrest report said Webster had sex with the victim at her family’s house.
Investigators said the victim’s friend was present and recorded video of the sexual encounter.
Detectives said the video was posted to Snapchat and shared with other children.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said Webster reached out to the victim’s mother, who had no idea who he was, through text message.
The arrest report said he asked the girl’s mother to not tell deputies “because he didn’t want this to ruin his life.”
The suspect told the mother that she victim told her she was 18. During a controlled phone call, the suspect admitted he “fooled around” with the girl.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) said reports of online enticement spiked 97% in 2020 compared to the year prior.
The NCEM said part of the reason is due to COVID-19, with more children online than ever before.
Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert said parents need to supervise their children’s online activities.
“There are people who are evil and they will use whatever method necessary in order to get access to children,” Carson said.
Carson said the best approach is to create an environment where children feel comfortable talking when something is happening online.
“You don’t want to go overboard because that scares the child. It upsets the child and doesn’t allow you to receive the information you need,” Carson said.
If you or someone you know has been enticed online, you are urged to report it to NCMEC’s CyberTipline at https://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/cybertipline, or call our hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST, that’s 1-800-843-5678.