AP

Sheriff: Hotline counselor sent obscene pics to teen caller

Apr 22, 2022, 7:30 AM | Updated: 8:03 am

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A crisis hotline counselor in Florida sent obscene material to a teenager who called asking for help, sheriff’s officials said.

The teen called the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay’s 211 hotline around 9:30 p.m. on March 28. She left her contact information so an intervention specialist could return the call, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s officials said in a news release.

A man called back and introduced himself as a counselor at the center named “William,” and they spoke for about an hour on a recorded line, the release said. He soon called again, from a restricted phone number, telling the girl he was just checking on her, the release said.

During additional phone calls, he got the girl’s Instagram username, and followed her. He began sending direct messages to her, including explicit videos and photos, the sheriff’s office said. He then asked her to send naked photos of herself. She refused and reported the incident to a school resource deputy the next day.

Investigators discovered that the man who called himself William had actually begun working at the center about two months earlier under his real name. His cellphone was searched after a subpoena was issued and investigators confirmed the teen’s account of the phone calls, the release said.

Detectives then questioned the man and he confessed, they said.

He is accused of transmission of harmful material to a minor and unlawful use of a two-way communications device.

The crisis center said in a statement that the man passed background checks before he was hired. He has been fired.

“We are deeply saddened by the actions of this former employee but thankful the victim had a resource available in the community that protected them,” Clara Reynolds, the center’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are so sorry that a vulnerable person was hurt because it goes directly against what we work for every day.”

Detectives are concerned there could be additional victims. Sheriff’s officials said the man also worked as a volunteer worship leader at Iglesia Adoración Y Palabra Jesucristo Es El Señor in nearby Wesley Chapel.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday.

1 day ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

1 day ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

1 day ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

2 days ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

4 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Sheriff: Hotline counselor sent obscene pics to teen caller