Text message app Kik led to sex assault of teen, police say
JANESVILLE—A smart phone messaging application that has been called dangerous for juveniles led to the sexual assault of a 13-year-old Janesville girl, police said.
The girl met a 20-year-old Janesville man via the app Kik, and they corresponded for a couple weeks before meeting Monday, police said in a news release.
They met in the 1900 block of Center Avenue, she got into the man's car, and they drove to the 800 block of South Washington Street, which is a dead end near the Rock River, police said.
He parked and then sexually assaulted her in the car against her will, Deputy Chief Dan Davis said.
Arrested was Nicholas W. Ackerman, 20, of 421 Eisenhower Ave., Janesville.
Ackerman was arrested on charges of sexual assault of a child, child enticement, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and a probation violation.
The girl told her mother, who contacted police, Davis said.
Kik is a free app that allows users to invite contact with strangers.
“Police have described it as 'the No. 1 social media problem involving teenagers,'" according to an article in the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, published last month.
Australian police were concerned that pedophiles trolled Kik for victims, the article states.
Kik allows users to post photos as well as text and often is used in conjunction with the popular app Instagram.
A reviewer on bewebsmart.com posted images of Kik messages from people who were asking to trade photos, sending sexually laden messages and otherwise inviting strangers to chat with them.
The reviewer said thousands of such messages were available.
“While I'm sure that many people use Kik to simply send messages to friends, the fact that it is very popular for sexting leads me to believe it is not a good choice for kids,” the reviewer wrote.
Last updated: 6:15 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2014