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Cornelius News

Beware predators as kids spend more time online


April 28. A 26-year-old New York man allegedly traveled from Brooklyn to Charlotte for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. US Attorney Andrew Murray said the internet is being exploited even more as literally millions of students continue their studies online.

“More unmonitored screen time can lead to an increased risk of exposure to all the dangers that lurk on the internet, including child predators who leverage social media to target and exploit innocent children,” Murray said.

He urged parents to be extra-vigilant in monitoring their children’s online activity.

Manuel Oppenheimer, 26, had his initial appearance this morning before US Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer.

It is alleged that Oppenheimer met the minor on Omegle, a free online chat website, and later began talking to the minor on Snapchat.

On April 16, the Union County Sheriff’s office received information regarding a missing 14-year-old female, who was possibly located in Charlotte with an adult male, later identified as Oppenheimer.

CMPD officers were able to locate the minor at a residence in Charlotte, and the minor was returned to Union County. Law enforcement subsequently arrested Oppenheimer.

The federal criminal complaint alleges that Oppenheimer wanted to meet the minor in April due to the COVID-19 outbreak, otherwise it was possible their meeting would need to be postponed up to a year, until the outbreak was over.

Oppenheimer is charged with one count of traveling across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a minor. He is currently in federal custody.

Parents should immediately report suspected online enticement or sexual exploitation of a child by calling 911, contacting the FBI at tips.fbi.gov, or filing a report with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-843-5678 or report.cybertip.org.