Pedophile Videotapes Teenagers on the Internet
A forty-year-old Massachusetts resident has been charged with impersonating a seventeen-year-old boy so that he could lure young women into video-enabled chat rooms and clandestinely videotape them while they engaged in lewd, bawdy acts on camera. Lawrence Joseph Silipigni Jr. from Saugus, Massachusetts was accused of over nine felony counts over his supposed recording of child pornography.
According to an affidavit filed last month by an FBI agent
The balding, overweight man purportedly procured photos from an unknown teenager's MySpace account in order to create his own bogus account on the popular social networking site Stickam. From there, he interacted with several girls and persuaded them to do sexual acts in front of private video chat rooms. Unbeknownst to them, the suspect videotaped their every move the whole time.
Even though Silipigni's victims believed that they were performing for their seventeen-year-old online boyfriend privately, a video recording of one of the girls masturbating for the middle-aged man has been posted all over the Internet. The aforementioned fourteen-year-old Californian was just one of many underage teenagers Silipigni duped into becoming part of his pornographic video collection.
Tragically, this case isn't the first to demonstrate that Stickam is not a site that's suitable for teenagers to go to. Just two years ago, in July 2007, there was a report in the New York Times disclosing the fact that more than 600,000 users aged fourteen and older are allowed to take part in unfiltered, uncensored video chats via webcams. It also alleged that the principal owner of the site, Wataru Takahashi, also ran a gamut of porn site networks that shared computer systems, employees, and office space with Stickam.
The Times even quoted an ex-employee of Stickam for the following statement: "They (Stickam) don’t get it that there are predators on the Internet." At any rate, representatives for the social networking site remained adamant in keeping quiet about the whole debacle. Stickam's vice-president of marketing even outright denied claims that the company had deleted a myriad of emailed complaints about abuse without responding to or reading any of them.
Court documents on the case show that Silipigni used MySpace, Facebook, and Stickam to search for girls aged fourteen to eighteen years old. He also confessed to FBI agents that he has amassed more than a hundred videos of webcam girls he met on Stickam.