GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Green Bay couple is urging parents and teens to be wary on social media after a registered sex offender contacted their 13-year-old daughter online--only to learn that it's not against the law.
Mark Charles - Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry photo
Outraged, they contacted Target 2 Investigates to find out why.
The teen's mother, Alecia Boyd, asks, "How many kids would have went and left their house to meet up with him or just ignored it and let it go on?"
Alecia Boyd and Ryan Murdock are relieved their 13-year-old daughter did not ignore the series of strange messages she received on Facebook in February.
The messages were from a stranger.
Alecia Boyd showed us the messages and described them for Target 2 Investigates.
"Is your mom home?' And she's like 'yes.' And he's like, 'I'm texting her to see if it's OK to stop in but no answer.'
"'Go ask [your brother] to ask if I can stop in please.' And then he's like, 'I have my Snapchat on no answer, sorry.'"
Murdock interjects, "And that's, I think, when she [Ryan's daughter] kind of was like, what the heck is this?"
The teen handed the phone to her father. He replied by asking the man on the other end to stop contacting her.
That man is 52-year-old Mark Charles. He's a registered sex offender who has spent time in prison for 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child.
In a panic, the parents called police. They expected Charles would be arrested immediately. That didn't happen.
"Because of legal loopholes," Murdock says. "I'm like getting horrified."
Alecia Boyd tells us, "It's not against the law for a 50-year-old man that is a registered sex offender to contact a 13-year-old girl on Facebook that he doesn't know and ask to hang out with her? That's not against the law so he didn't commit a crime."
She's right. It's not against the law.
Police and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections still launched an investigation and found Mark Charles did break one law. However, it had nothing to do with contacting young girls online.
Wednesday on Action 2 News at 10, a Target 2 Investigation into what happened and what parents need to know about sex offenders who can legally use social media.