CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — A 29-year-old man was arrested on sexual assault of a child charges after Cedar Park officers led him to the victim’s home using her Snapchat account.
The Cedar Park Police Department said Jorge F. Dela Cruz Rodriguez was arrested and taken to Travis County Jail on a $300,000 bond. He’s charged with online solicitation of a minor with intent to meet, a second-degree felony, and two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony.
KXAN has reached out to Rodriguez’s attorney. We will update this story if we hear back.
On May 6, a mother reported her daughter had been sexually assaulted by a man. Detectives found the victim and man began talking on Omegle, a chatroom website, then started using the social media app Snapchat to communicate.
Data gathered from Snapchat showed the victim and man began talking in October 2020. Messages were “sexual in nature” and included nude photos, videos and “discussions of the sexual acts the two had engaged in,” according to police.
Detectives went undercover and used the victim’s Snapchat over the course of a few days to lure the suspect to the victim’s home.
On May 19, the suspect came to the victim’s home where he was arrested without incident, police said.
Keeping your kids safe online
Cedar Park police strongly urge parents to talk with their kids about social media safety and avoiding strangers online. They say teach them not to reveal too much personal information online and how to identify red flags.
Some tips for parents include:
- Educate yourself: Find out what kind of apps and sites your child is interested in. Read app reviews, age limits and fine print.
- Make accounts: If you don’t have an account on the social media site your child wants to use, get one. Teach yourself the ins and outs of the site. Make sure you know what they can and cannot do, and decide what they should and shouldn’t do.
- Teach them about posting: Deleting a post does not mean it’s permanently gone. All their online posts, comments, likes and shares are a part of their digital footprint. Posting inappropriate content could impact their online reputation. It could potentially hurt them when they get older.
- Importance of privacy: Many social media sites request names, dates of birth, school names and hometown. Teach your children how much personal information is too much information online.
Cedar Park police also gave tips on how parents can regularly monitor their children’s social media accounts:
- Most apps have an age requirement. Enforce it.
- Check the privacy setting on apps regularly. Companies often update their privacy policies. Make sure you read the fine print.
- Consider using a trusted security suite with parental controls on your child’s device. Enable all safety features that prevent children from accidently being exposed to inappropriate content online.
- Make sure you change the settings on their devices to ask your permission before installing an app.
- Learn slang. Kids have a language of their own when it comes to communicating online.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, you can reach out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline to get help and resources. That number is 1 (800) 656-4673.