WESTMINSTER, Md. — They "matched" on the free dating app Tinder on the Sunday after Valentine's Day and within 72 hours, 19-year-old Jonathon Arentz drove 20 miles from Hanover, Pennsylvania to Westminster, Maryland to have sex with a 12-year-old girl.
Elena Russo of the Maryland State Police says such sites provide little protection from predators.
"The dating sites are another area where our predators are sitting and lingering waiting on these opportunities to prey on the most vulnerable,” said Russo. “Those are the sites where the predators can make up whoever they want to be, posting pictures, adding ages and phony sociological data to try to attract the people that they're preying on."
According to charging documents, the teen and the young girl moved to Snapchat where the victim sent him a picture exposing her breasts.
The next day, the 12-year-old stayed home from school and invited Arentz into her home where they had sex.
When the young victim's grandmother walked into the home unexpectedly that afternoon, the Pennsylvania teen made a break for a side door, but she stopped him and called police.
"Our investigators will tell parents, 'It's really up to you to manage how your children are using their devices and if you know that they're on social networking sites where you're able to post a profile, to get on that phone, get on that device and try to find out what your child is doing," cautioned Russo.
Arentz now faces a charge of second-degree rape, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted.
He has been released from the Carroll County Detention Center after posting a $50,000 unsecured bond.