Police: Rape suspect used phone app to find victim

by: Lee Stoll Updated:

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LYNNWOOD, Wash. - Police say a phone app made it easy for a suspected rapist to chat up a child and then assault her.

"Predators are going to do anything and everything that they can to get what they want," said Lake Forest Park parent Tim Gilbert. He monitors whom his children are talking to on social media sites.

"I get their passwords and stuff and I become friends on Facebook," said Gilbert.

But Gilbert says he's never heard of a phone app called "Whisper."

"It's an adult app," said Lake Forest Park Police Chief Stephen Sutton. Users post about alcohol, sex and anything on their mind.

The site also shows where other users are nearby, making it easy to meet up.

"This one is problematic because it shotguns information out and identifies a certain area that you are in," said Sutton.

Users are supposed to be at least 17 years old but nothing apparently stopped a 12-year-old girl from downloading it.

Detectives say 21-year-old Ron Peterson used the app to chat with the child. He drove to her house and told her how to remove the screen from her bedroom window and run away.

Peterson confessed he took the girl to a Lynnwood motel where the pair had sex.

Richard Whipple says the girl and her family moved in next door just a few months ago and believes the child was just looking for a friend.

"Around here, those things don't happen, said Whipple.

Peterson was arrested for second degree child rape and released on bail.

 

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