Branson police discuss cautionary tale: Parents need to help teens understand online perils

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BRANSON MO NEWS: As we enter the New Year, the Branson Police Department has a cautionary tale for teenagers and parents concerning the rise of explicit photos shared through smartphone apps.On Aug. 8, 2017, a 15-year-old Branson girl was contacted via Facebook Messenger by a 19-year-old man. The man, also from Branson, sent several nude photographs and a video of himself committing sexual acts to the minor. The minor sent photos and one video of herself to the man and stated she felt pressured into sending the materials to him, according to a court document from the Branson Police Department.The man, Caleb Saffel, is now charged with felony promoting a sexual performance by a child; felony possession of child pornography – first offense; and felony possession of child pornography (more than 20 pictures or a video) – second offense; and misdemeanor furnishing pornographic material, or attempting to furnish to a minor, according to online court records.

He is currently in the custody of Taney County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bond. He has a court hearing Jan. 29, according to online court records.After obtaining the report, the Branson Tri-Lakes News reached out to Branson Assistant Chief of Police Eric Schmitt and Investigations Unit Sgt. Sean Barnwell for advice they would have for families.When asked about instances concerning some adults pressuring minors for explicit images, Schmitt said: “I’ll tell you for sure, it’s on the rise.”Before moving to Branson in 2017, Schmitt worked in Colorado and discussed one of his experiences.“One of the best examples I have, as far as a cautionary tale for the parents, is a case that we had in my previous department. We had a 15-year-old (girl), nice family and everything, but she was online and some guy friended her and conned her into sending – the lightest of …


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