My daughter is 19 and autistic, and she is developmentally and socially more like a child of 7 or 8. She can comprehend and do a lot, and can communicate well enough to be understood on the level of a 7 or 8 year old. She has met a man, "Nathan," online who says he is 24. I just found out that they've been "sexting," doing "role-play" scenarios that can become explicit, describing body parts, etc., and of course this worries me. She has no real information about him that can be confirmed. He texts her through an msn account, so she has never seen him or spoken to him on the phone. He says he doesn't have a cell phone and is camera shy, so that's why they can only text. I was worried about this guy being a sexual predator, so I went to the police department last night and spoke with an officer about my concerns.
Unfortunately, since she is over 18 and she can converse reasonably well, she is considered able to consent. Since no crime has been committed and she can consent, there is nothing they can do. He has talked about coming out next year to go to college. Honestly, I don't believe any of it. Since he can't be spoken to or seen in person, and only communicates through his msn account, it is setting off bells and whistles for me.
It's bad enough if this guy wants to come out and meet her for sex, but she's an adult and can consent, basically, and without watching her constantly, there's not much I can do. I should add that I'm a single mom of three kids and work full-time, so I can't watch her 24/7.
My concern, though, is what if this is more than just about sex with this guy? What if he's a sex trafficker? I don't want to be paranoid, but sex trafficking happens, and it happens to kids who are naive, and as in her case, need attention. Their main role-play scenario is her cheating on him, and sleeping with other guys, and graphically describing body parts. This is the type of "grooming" that some sexual predators do. The officer thinks it's probably a married man wanting to have a little something on the side, but they text dozens of times a day, all day, and my daughter is not savvy enough to be really "sexy," in her texts. It really feels to me like this isn't just "fun sexting" for him, because what I've read of her texts, she's not that good at it. It really looks to me like someone trying to groom her for something else.
I've talked to her, and of course she thinks I'm being silly, and Nathan is not that type of person, he is very caring and cares about her. I tried to explain that that is what sexual predators do, but she doesn't buy it.
I don't know what to do. I understand that no crime has been committed (yet) so there's nothing the police can do. I really need suggestions.