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New York police have arrested a Queens man for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl he met on Snapchat.
Andrew Ramsaroop, 30, met the victim and her friend at a mall on Long Island on May 13 after they had been in touch via social media. The suspect apparently attempted to get the girl and her friend to enter his vehicle, but they refused, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.
The victim met the suspect later that day at a playground in Hauppauge, New York. Ramsaroop is accused of raping the girl at the playground.
“This defendant allegedly used a social media app to gain access to the victim,” Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney said in a June 3 statement. “He allegedly knew the teen was 13 years old yet this adult continued to communicate with this child and eventually convinced her to meet him in person in Suffolk County. The targeting of children will not be tolerated and offenders will be held responsible for their actions.”
The girl eventually disclosed the incident to a school official, who called the police.
Snapchat, which has a minimum user age requirement of 13, told Fox News Digital that the incident is an egregious violation of its policies and that the company’s thoughts are with the victim. The company said it regularly collaborates with law enforcement investigations to help prevent abuse on the app on which messages can disappear after they are sent. Additionally, Snapchat has protections in place to make it harder for strangers to seek young users, the company said.
Snapchat is currently developing in-app tools for parents to give them more insight into their children’s activity on the platform. The app advises users against adding “friends” they do not know in real life. Users can also customize their privacy settings so that they can choose who is able to send them photo or text messages. Users can also report inappropriate messages directly to the social media company.
Authorities have charged Ramsaroop with second-degree rape, second-degree criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child. A judge ordered the suspect to be held on $300,000 cash bail, $600,000 bond or $2 million partially secured bond, according to Tierney’s office. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 27.
Police are actively investigating the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact 631-854-8452 or anonymously call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.