SPOKANE, Wash. — Police charged 59-year-old Brett Nearing of Hayden for exploiting young girls on Snapchat. Investigators say he posed as a teen boy to get girls to send him nude photos.
Court documents show Nearing admitted he paid young girls in exchange for sexually explicit photos. Nearing even said he’d traded photos for other images online.
Investigators say many of Nearing’s victims are girls from Spokane and Coeur D’Alene. They say he would entice girls by giving them compliments, and sometimes even offering Amazon gift cards.
Court documents show Snapchat filed a report to law enforcement of suspected child exploitation material.
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force traced the Snapchat account back to Nearing.
Nearing admitted to posing as a 15-year-old boy to carry out his acts with the young girls. If the girls refused to continue sending him photos, Nearing would threaten to publicly post the ones they’d already sent.
Mark Voigtlander, the regional supervisor for the Intelligence Group deals with these types of sex crimes all the time. He’s noticed an uptick lately with young girls and boys.
“They’re being enticed to whether it be through love or it be affection, acceptance, or in some instances cash for money, for gift cards. All of those are enticing the juvenile group,” he said.
Millani Goodman is a victim advocate at Community Lutheran Services and says children are vulnerable.
“Anything that’s shared online is permanent. It’s hard to retract that once it’s posted online, and so being really mindful of having open communication, dialogue and conversations with their kids about safety and what that looks like in online space,” Goodman said.
“One of the best ways for parents to fight the onslaught of child phonography or child sexual abuse material, and the individuals trying to profit off that is to make sure the child doesn’t put that information on that particular platform or text the first place,” Voigtlander said.
It may not always be possible, but Voigtlander says your kid should use their phone in an open area. It’s also a good idea to check your kid’s phone.
“It’s a small price to pay for what is becoming a larger problem in our community,” he said.
If you or someone you know is a victim you can call the 24/7 Washington State Crime Victim Hotline at 888-288-9221.