SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It is a parent’s worst nightmare.
A 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted after her attacker allegedly stalked her on Facebook. Police said 29-year-old Michael Sebastian posed as a teenage boy and friended the teen from Springfield.
“The conversations and chats in the messages got sexual very quickly and to the victim’s credit, she said ‘no,’ but didn’t want to meet him. She tried to do the right thing,” First Assistant District Attorney Al Cernadas Jr. told CBS 2’s Diana Rocco.
Police said the man from Perth Amboy was following the teen on Facebook when she updated her status saying she’d be at a nearby shopping center, where Sebastian allegedly was waiting. Police said Sebastian coaxed the victim into his car and sexually assaulted her.
“It’s awful. It’s awful because it could be anyone’s child,” parent Denise Giancasper said, reacting to the news.
Giancasper said she warns her daughter not to friend people she doesn’t know.
“I do monitor her Facebook and we are friends of hers so any interaction she has with anyone…we know what sites that she goes on,” she said.
“You know the old saying about sitting down at dinner and having a conversation? Maybe old fashioned, but it still works,” said Beth Bonner.
Police also warn that people should never post their whereabouts online.
“It’s a sad state of affairs actually. Something that’s made to be for the benefit of people can also be manipulated by predators,” Cernadas Jr. said.
Sebastian is being held at a Union County jail and facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Police said it’s still a very active investigation and are asking anyone with information to come forward.
Sebastian is being charged with sex assault and luring and endangering the welfare of a minor. He’s being held on $125,000 bail, and will go before a judge this week.
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