Police in the Montreal-area are warning parents about online predators using the popular video game Fortnite to lure minors into a sextortion scheme.
Four cases have been reported in the past few weeks, according to police.
In three of those cases, minors were threatened, and in one, the victim sent personal photos to the cyber-predator.
Sgt. Jean-Luc Tremblay with the Richelieu Saint-Laurent police said the predator, or predators, tried to infiltrate groups of friends by offering them a chance to advance their game in exchange for providing revealing photos.
Those messages happen over the social media platform Instagram.
Then the predator threatened to share the images unless the teen sent even more intimate material.
Fortnite has become the most popular game of 2018, thanks to its surreal mix of first-person shooter action and dance moves.
"[Police] communicated with us asking us to transmit a communiqué to inform parents and help them," said Lynne Arcand, an administrator with the Commission Scolaire des Patriotes, a French-language school board representing more than 30,000 students on Montreal's South Shore.
Arcand added that the school board regularly works to build awareness about social media safety.
"Our role is education for the kids. Adopting good behaviours on social media. Not to give up their passwords. To be vigilant with whom they are chatting," she said.
Student Guillaume Lelièvre said he doesn't play Fortnite but believes "a lot of people would be taken in by this."
A national problem
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, a national organization based in Winnipeg, works to prevent the online exploitation of children and says it receives about half a dozen reports to its national tipline about similar cases to what is being reported in Quebec.
"[Kids] are in absolute crisis because they've either shared a sexual image and they're being extorted for more or they've paid money, so they're desperate for solutions," said Signy Arnason, the associated executive director of the centre.
She said the minors think they're connecting with a friend or peer, and end up sending something because they don't realize they are messaging with an adult.
"And then they find out that it's more nefarious and then the blackmailing starts," she said.
Arnason and police are encouraging parents to have conversations with their kids about the scam.
"They're all vulnerable as soon as they're online," she said.
The Vatican’s outpost in Guam is in the poor house after being crushed under the weight of an overwhelming number of child sex abuse cases.
Yes, Guam’s Catholic Church — the entire thing — will declare bankruptcy. Not just because they had to but because there was also a strategic element to it. By doing so, the institution will be able to avoid trials for dozens of lawsuits regarding inappropriate sexual contact between priests and kids.
Archbishop Michael Byrnes announced Wednesday that mediation efforts that began in September led the church to bankruptcy.
“This path will bring the greatest measure of justice to the greatest number of victims,” Byrnes said. “That’s the heart of what we’re doing.”
Byrnes said the bankruptcy will provide “finality for victim survivors that they’ve been heard and understood.”
Attorney Leander James, who is working with alleged victims in Guam, said in a statement the move will help resolve current lawsuits from more than 180 claims of abuse through settlements.
“We welcome the announcement,” James said in a statement. “Bankruptcy provides the only realistic path to settlement of pending and future claims.”
This is actually a pretty interesting case. The number and scope of lawsuits, as well as the threat of future ones, compelled the entire Church to declare bankruptcy. It’s not something they would do lightly, and it will ensure that a huge group of victims gets paid. It also doesn’t necessarily mean the Church will shut down.
According to attorneys for the alleged victims, bankruptcy will encourage others to submit their complaints by implementing a filing deadline.
“This bankruptcy filing will automatically stop any further action in the lawsuits that have been filed, and it will create a deadline for all Guam clergy abuse victims to file claims,” James said. “It will be important for those who have not come forward to do so and file their claim.”
Guam attorney Anthony Perez, who is also representing victims, says the bankruptcy does not mean the archdiocese will be shuttered.
“Just because the archdiocese is filing for bankruptcy does not mean it will go out of business,” Perez said. “In my discussions with attorneys from my team with extensive experience in these types of bankruptcies, this filing will allow the archdiocese to reorganize and still be operational after the claims are paid and the bankruptcy is closed.”
In essence, by doing this, the Church will start over virtually no assets and an entirely new strategy. It also means there’s reason to doubt how prominent a force it will be moving forward.
The Vatican didn’t say what exactly Archbishop Anthony Apuron had been convicted of, and the sentence was far lighter than those given high-profile elderly prelates found guilty of molesting minors.
A bankruptcy may have been the least Guam’s Catholic Church could do. But unless it comes along with concrete changes to the Church’s abuse and reporting policies, it’s next to useless.
I agree with the writer. And I don't like the idea of putting a time limit on making a claim against the church. Some survivors may just not be ready to come forward for some time. I'm not particularly happy that the church will survive in Guam either. What they have done there is an abomination to God and they do not deserve another opportunity to blaspheme God and destroy more islanders.
A 77-year-old man from Amsterdam was sentenced to four years in prison by the court in Zwolle. He was convicted of sexually abusing four girls in Southeast Asia, for creating, possessing, sharing and importing child pornography, and for possessing and importing animal pornography, NU.nl reports.
Johan W.'s victims are from the Philippines and Thailand, where he lived since 2008. He was arrested at Schiphol in May last year, immediately after he arrived from Thailand. He had child pornography in his possession at the time. Investigation showed that he owned hundreds of pornographic images and videos involving children, many of which he made himself.
The court in Zwolle imposed an extra long probation period of 10 years on the man. According to the court, W. had already been convicted of this type of crime multiple times and does not recognize that he is doing anything wrong. He also refused treatment. The court said that W. blatantly took advantage of the girls, who lived in poverty. He must also pay his victims 2 thousand euros in damages.
The Public Prosecutor demanded 4 years in prison, one of which conditionally suspended, against W.
Good grief! 3 years in prison for a prolific paedophile with no conscience. How pathetic! He doesn't believe raping a child is wrong, so why put him on probation? It's not like he is capable of learning anything, or empathy with the children he destroys! He won't even take treatment. He should never be allowed to walk free again, ever.