Four Bloomington men arrested, accused of molesting teen girl they met through app
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.– The Monroe County Sheriff’s office says four Bloomington men were arrested for allegedly molesting a teen girl they met through a phone app.
Evan Miller, 25, George Pearcy, 21, Mathew Filipek, 23, and Thomas Snape, 23, each face a felony charge of child molest. Snape faces an additional charge of possession of a level one controlled substance.
Police say the arrests stemmed from a complex investigation that began when the 13-year-old victim disclosed to police she met the men on the social media app Whisper.
Monroe County Sheriff Investigation Unit Commander Lt. Jennifer Allen provided a description of the app:
The Whisper app is an anonymous social networking application where users can chat with other users. When a user posts a public “Whisper,” if someone responds, it will show the approximate distance between the user who posted the Whisper and the user replying. Whisper does not require the user to register for a unique Whisper account, and users do not generally provide to Whisper their names, email addresses, phone numbers, or other similar identifying information. Because of that, Whisper does not have information about the users’ names, email or physical addresses, phone numbers, or payment accounts. Whisper does assign a non-unique display name to each user, however multiple users may be assigned the same display name and the user can change their assigned display name any time, and as many times as they want. Whisper stores content posted for public viewing, however once users start to chat with each other, that data is not public content, and Whisper does not keep a record of those conversations. Whisper is also not able to match posted content with an exact IP address. All of the above makes it almost impossible for law enforcement to obtain any information.
The teen victim reported the sexual encounters to police during the fall of 2016. They took place at the suspects’ residences and within a car parked in the parking lot of an elementary school in western Monroe County.
Personnel at the victim’s school learned in January that she may have been involved in a sexual relationship with an adult man and spoke with her about it. She told them that she did in fact have a sexual encounter with a 25-year-old man, and she said he knew her age.
During the investigation, the victim told investigators she had met three other adult men at their Bloomington-area residences. She cooperated with investigators and provided details which led to physical and corroborating evidence.
Police served search warrants at three homes. Cell phones were collected for forensic examination. At this time, the result of the searches has not been provided.
“Parents should be mindful that with the anonymity which this particular app provides, the presence of it on their child’s electronic devices, should be suspect.
“There is an extremely high risk potential for tragedy to happen when technology such as Whisper can facilitate a child’s reckless decisions,” said Monroe County Sheriff Brad Swain. “Constantly monitor and guide your child’s activity on whatever electronic devices you allow or know them to use.”