Holly McClain is a devoted mom from Ypsilanti. She checked her ten-year-old son Riley's on-line activity periodically and thought that was enough.
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t give them the freedom that I did,” said McClain.
Last year she and her daughter noticed Riley received a message on Facebook from someone they didn’t know.
“As I scrolled I realized it wasn’t a child,” she said.
The messages Holly saw were on Facebook messenger. The conversation sounded innocent at first.
It appeared a young girl was chatting with her son Riley. Eventually a message came asking for a picture.
After some hesitation Riley sent pictures.
7 Action News offered to conceal Riley’s identity, but he and his mom say he has nothing to be embarrassed about. He wanted to speak out about how it happened to help protect other children.
“It was nice at first,” said Riley.
Riley says it started when the person reached out to him first on an app called Live Me.
“Saying you are cute, you have a nice smile,” said Riley.
They then quickly became not only Facebook friends, but in Riley’s eyes real friends.
“Like someone who actually cared about me,” said Riley.
He felt safe sending images he normally wouldn’t send. Then his mom went through his phone.
His mom told him her suspicions that he wasn’t talking to a girl about his age. At first he didn’t believe her theory.
Holly called investigators.
The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Child Exploitation Unit, which takes on more of these cases than any other agency, tracked down the child predator responsible.
It was no girl.
Investigators arrested Joshua Kordish from Pennsylvania. He is being held on a probation violation, pending charges in this case.
“I was devastated,” said Riley.
“With this guy that did this to my son, the police told me there are thousands of victims and they can’t trace the pictures back to where they originated from,” said McClain.
Riley is not alone. Experts estimate that one-in-five girls and one-in-10 boys will be sexually exploited before they reach adulthood.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Acting Deputy Special Agent in Charge Matthew Stentz says Holly and Riley are heroes for other children because they cooperated with investigators.
“Predators will move from victim to victim to victim very quickly,” said Stentz
He predicts the investigation it resulted in will help put away predators around the world.
“It is going after the networks that are behind the global victimization of children,” said Stentz.
“I got somebody off the street,” said Riley of talking to investigators about a mistake.
Holly and Riley say they both learned lessons.
Holly says checking your child’s activity periodically isn’t enough. This predator, posing as a friend, only had been chatting with ten-year-old Riley for two weeks.
“They start out very innocent and build trust. They do this very quickly. With kids as young as mine and younger, it is easy to build trust in hours,” said McClain.
Riley says he is grateful his mom was watching, as things aren’t always what they seem online.
“Be aware and don’t send photos,” said Riley
“You feel so violated and you feel as if you didn’t do your job as a parent. If one person can see this story and protect their children from feeling the way my son has felt it would be a good thing,” said McClain.
To report a similar crime to ICE, go to https://www.ice.gov/predator.