Has someone sent you a troubling text or e-mail that makes you wonder “Does this guy have a sexual problem?”
Or have you seen an inappropriate sexual posting on Instagram or other social media that makes you go “Yuk!”
We’re talking about words and pictures that don’t necessarily break the law, but that may indicate that the sender is sexually troubled.
Our advice: Please save it somehow, somewhere. You have no idea if it can help someone down the road.
He just seems like a creep to you now. But who knows what the future holds? Maybe he’ll be more than just creepy. In six months, maybe he’ll be arrested for punching his wife. Or be jailed for rape. Or be sued by someone he ‘crossed the line’ sexually in some way.
And that message or posting or picture you have or have seen might just be THE piece of evidence that could be extraordinarily helpful for police, prosecutors, civil attorneys and of course, for the victim herself or himself.
So for the safety of others, don’t assume that a creep will remain a creep. He may well escalate into criminal behavior and your information might help get him prosecuted or convicted.
Bad guys can close their social media accounts. Your cell phone may be lost, stolen or be broken. Things on the internet aren’t necessarily preserved for eternity.
So, again, please play it safe: if you have a disturbing picture, phrase or tidbit of information, one that’s potentially indicative of a sick personality or a propensity to hurt others, save it.
Take a screen shot, save a text to your hard drive, print and file a website page, do whatever you can to keep it.
Why are we bringing this up now? One answer: NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson faces 19 pending lawsuits alleging sexual crimes against massage therapists. But he has also been accused of deleting Instagram messages and posts that could be incriminating to him. And he reportedly is contacting his victims directly and offering settlements. If the messages and posts are deleted and they have not been saved by others, these potential pieces of evidence could be permanently lost.
Victims, civil attorneys and law enforcement officials are obviously afraid Watson is getting rid of material that could get him successfully prosecuted or sued.
Many offenders do this of course. Some have no doubt escaped consequences because not enough evidence against them was available.
But like other suspected offenders, Watson cannot make every questionable message disappear if those he’s been in touch with are safety conscious and save that material.
Put another way, with all due respect, we suspect that you aren’t a detective or prosecutor. So you can’t possibly know for certain what information might help them do their jobs.
Similarly, you’re probably not a veteran journalist. So you can’t possibly know for sure what information might be able to help a reporter expose a predator or enabler through a news outlet.
And you likely aren’t a civil lawyer. So you can’t possibly know for sure what information might enable a victim and his/her attorney to seek justice in court (and thereby get a predator’s name into the public eye, which helps prevent abuse and find other victims).
Finally, please don’t assume that whatever you know or suspect is probably known by others and that they have already contacted law enforcement.
If a creep has sent inappropriate texts or taken inappropriate pictures or you or someone you know, it’s likely he’s done it to others before. But you can’t safely assume that one of them has contacted police or prosecutors. In fact, it’s best to assume the opposite, and then to save and send that information on to legal authorities.
Remember: very few people who see, suffer or suspect crime or misdeeds report them. So the safe bet is NOT to assume others have already taken action. Take action yourself. And a good place to start is using that “SAVE” function.
Horowitz Law files civil lawsuits on behalf of persons who were sexually assaulted and sexually abused. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or battery, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.