RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond man will spend the next 20 years in prison after he used the app KIK to get a young girl to prostitute herself.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, 47-year-old Stephen Callis pretended to be a 15-year-old girl named Kayla to talk to a girl on KIK Messenger. "Kayla" then convinced the victim to prostitute herself to older men and said she would introduce her to a man named "Mark."
Mark was another alias Callis used.
Callis then talked the victim into meeting him for prostitution. Authorities say he met the girl, rented a hotel room and paid the juvenile $60 to have sex with her, knowing that she was under age. Callis picked her up from high school several times.
"Callis and the juvenile engaged in sex acts in a hotel room approximately seven times, and Callis paid the juvenile for sexual acts on approximately five of those occasions," according to U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.
One IT expert says this isn't the first time he's heard of this scheme.
"It's an ideal playground for sexual predators," said PCRx Computers CEO Eric Strickler.
He says you should never even allow your kids on these anonymous sites to begin with.
Easy and quick to sign up - appealing because it's anonymous - online messenger sites like "KIK" are popping up all over.
"There is a huge appeal right now for random chatting," said Strickler.
That random chatting could be with anyone, with no guarantee the person on the other end is really who they say they are.
"The site itself requires no personal verification to validate to prove that you're a real person," said Strickler.
Behind the computer screen could even be multiple identities and a grand scheme.
"They are able to create multiple identities to earn trust as one type of person to lead to an actual physical encounter with the real person they are, which is probably a monster," said Strickler. "I think it's important we as parents keep an eye on our kids and keep up with technology learn the lingo."
But Strickler admits it's hard to keep up.
"There's probably right now no less than 50 anonymous chat apps in development any one time, so this is small part of a very large machine really," said Strickler.
Callis was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for enticement of a minor and sex trafficking of children. He was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.
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