(Original story at Times Union here.)
Sure, the news media love to publicize horror stories of victims of social media – or in fact, any “new” media – because such stories attract attention, especially with exaggerated headlines.
While the article does not say that the rapist boasted of his exploits on Facebook (and I doubt he was so foolish as to do so), the investigators probably managed to find and contact his other victims, as well as prove his modus operandi in a court of law because of the online trail that he left on Facebook.
I am not advocating criminal acts or ways to circumvent leaving online trails while committing crimes using the internet, but please do know that the authorities can easily find out what you did online and use your online trail as evidence against you in a court of law.
Minors should also be careful about who they befriend online, as well as in the real world.
Prison for online rapist
Colonie man who used Facebook to meet victims gets 13-year prison term
By ROBERT GAVIN Staff writer
Updated 09:35 p.m., Thursday, March 24, 2011
ALBANY — A 24-year-old Colonie man who used Facebook to meet hundreds of teenage girls was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in state prison for raping four of the girls in his home.
David Bradt pleaded guilty in January to four counts of third-degree rape for having sex with the underage victims — ages 15 and 16 — in his Maplewood Avenue home between July 2 and Oct. 10. His plea deal called for between 12 and 13 years in prison.
On Thursday, Judge Thomas Breslin opted for the 13-year stretch and 10 years post-release supervision.
Bradt used Facebook to meet more than 700 girls, mostly between the ages of 15 and 20. He appeared on the social networking site displaying a tattooed bare chest and underwear above low-slung pants.
Bradt began by “friending” one teenager on Facebook — then “friended” all of that girl’s friends. He continued to stockpile “friends” in what police and prosecutors described as a pyramid-type scheme.
After the sentencing, Albany County District Attorney David Soares told reporters Bradt targeted high-school cliques and exploited them.
“When he was ‘friending’ one girl and he was able to see her list of friends, he was basically using those girls as leads, like you would in a business,” Soares said, joined by Assistant District Attorney Shannon Sarfoh. “That’s how he was venturing into these other networks and was able to identify and find all of his prey.”
Colonie police arrested Bradt Oct. 16 after the mother of a 16-year-old girl became concerned over unusual text messages her daughter received from an older man. Although her daughter was not victimized, she called police, which led them to Bradt.
At the time of the arrest, investigators found Bradt’s desktop computer displaying a MapQuest website with directions to a Glenville home for a meeting with another underage girl.
Bradt supplied alcohol and marijuana to some of the victims.
“If it was not for a parent who was paying attention,” Soares said of the woman who tipped off police, “I would have hate to see what this person would have done if left unattended, unmonitored and unchecked.”
While Bradt pleaded guilty to four rapes, his victims numbered about 20, Soares said.
The plea deal did not prevent Bradt from facing new charges should additional allegations arise. He waived his right to appeal.