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Ohio man arrested for sending nude photos to Southwest Florida child

Steven Knoop.jpg
Posted at 8:44 AM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 18:50:55-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Police in Ohio have arrested a man after a Cape Coral father found nude photos of the man on his 13-year-old daughter's phone.

52-year-old Steven Knoop is in custody in Shelby County, Ohio after investigators traced the photos to his Sidney, Ohio home. A report reveals Knoop told the teen he would buy her a flight to come to Sidney, Ohio to live with him.

According to the Cape Coral Police Department, detectives were contacted by the victim's father, who reported that an online predator was pursuing his daughter.

A forensic download of the teen's phone located nude photos of Knoop, and it was determined that he sent the photos knowing that she was a juvenile.

Evan Lutz works for the cyber security firm Cigent, and unfortunately he sees stuff like this all the time.

“It’s scary that something like this is happening so close to home, but unfortunately, it’s not surprising,” he said. “Growing up with social media, it’s so normal. They see a lot of the benefits, without always seeing the risks firsthand.”

He recommends parents get a program like Net Nanny to see what apps their kids are using.

Police said Knoop met the victim on social media, and then started texting her for about a month. Lutz said using an app like Qustudio would add another layer of protection. It shows who’s sending their kids messages on Facebook and allows them to see text messages sent directly to their phone.

Police aren’t aren’t considering this a human trafficking case, but Megan Dalabes with Abuse Counseling and Treatment reminds parents predators are using social media more often than they think to target kids.

“They’re going to start by maybe saying a few things verbally or typing a few things that kind of start to cross some boundaries. And then maybe they engage them in something that requires them to keep a secret,” said Dalabes.

She said that’s probably how Knoop got his victim to let her guard down, and then sent her his nude photos, something he knew the victim wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to her parents about.

“Parents can let their kids know that it doesn’t matter if they broke a rule, but what matters is that they can feel comfortable coming forward to them to share honestly,” she said.

The Sidney Police Department was notified and served a search warrant at Knoop's home last month. He is facing charges of felony Disseminating Material Harmful to a Juvenile, and misdemeanor Drug Abuse.

Investigators say more charges are likely as the investigation continues.