After a pre-teen’s use of the Tinder app led to a horrible crime, authorities are warning parents that it’s possible for children to hide forbidden apps on their smartphone.
As Fox 19 News reports, it began with a false Tinder profile. An 11-year-old girl from Dearborn County, Indiana met 21-year-old Travis McAdams through the popular dating app. At the time, she was pretending to be somewhat older.
Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Deddens told Fox 19:
“It’s my understanding the 11-year-old had portrayed herself as a 16-year-old on the Tinder app and once they had met through Tinder they began to chat through SnapChat.”
In late December 2017 or early January 2018, McAdams and the young girl met up at a local movie theater. It was then that McAdams reportedly assaulted her.
According to the girl’s statement to detectives, she went away to use the bathroom, but McAdams followed her. When she left the restroom, she says McAdams grabbed her around the neck, covered her mouth, and took her behind the movie theater, where he raped her.
The girl continued to see McAdams after the alleged rape. Det. Sgt. Kendle Davis told Fox 19 that McAdams was then aware of the girl’s true age, but continued to set up dates — something the girl reportedly agreed to out of fear:
“She advised me that she was scared of McAdams and that’s why she continued to see him a couple of other occasions after this because she was afraid of what he might do to her.”
It wasn’t until March that the girl’s mother finally learned what had happened and reported the rape to police. Meanwhile, McAdams attempted to persuade the mom not to file charges. Davis told Fox 19:
“The mother did relay to us that she confronted the subject via phone because he contacted her and he didn’t want her to file charges and was attempting to talk her out of it.”
After a delay caused the effort to obtain search warrants, McAdams was finally arrested on December 14 and charged with felony rape and child molesting. He is currently being held on a $200,000 cash bond and $500,000 surety bond.
Since his arrest, more women have come forward with similar accusations against McAdams.
Some may wonder how the young girl could have been using Tinder and SnapChat without her mother’s knowledge, but there are ways to hide forbidden apps or profiles from adult eyes.
Davis warns parents that it’s important to be vigilant and know who your children are communicating with. That can be especially challenging on smartphones, which make it possible to camouflage apps like Tinder with innocuous-looking icons like a clock.
Davis told Fox 19 that parents should be on the lookout for hidden apps:
“Watch their social media accounts. There are apps out there now to look different. If you look on a child’s app and it shows a clock it’s actually a hidden file where kids can hide SnapChat accounts or Tinder accounts and other similar accounts, so their parents might not even be aware they have it.”