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Police: 21-Year-Old Sexually Exploited Children

By ABC-7’s Jill Galus

Provocative phone calls, underage sexting and everything in between.

Las Cruces Police say that’s what a 21-year-old man, now in jail, was doing with underage children. The arrest came after a three month investigation.

We all use the Internet, but parents need to pay special attention to what sites their kids are logging onto and who they may be chatting with.

Las Cruces Police say via the Internet girls only 13 and 14 years old developed sexual relationships with 21-year-old Michael Thurlo.

“It was sexually explicit…it was by telephone; by cellphone. There were photos sent back and forth. There were text messages sent back and forth and plus, he was communicating on the Internet,” said Dan Trujillo of the Las Cruces Police Department.

Photographs of Thurlo are how Las Cruces Police say he portrayed himself on his Myspace page, and it was through the privacy of his Las Cruces apartment, and with the help of a social networking site, that Thurlo connected with a 13-year-old girl in California and a 14-year-old in Arizona.

According to the statement of facts, detectives learned via his Myspace conversations, he engaged in several very sexually explicit chats about what they’d like to do to each other.

Detectives say Thurlo also allegedly had about a dozen explicit images of one of the girls’ genitals, as well as sexual videos of one of the girls. It’s information that’s floating around, and may have no way to be permanently erased.

“Parents really need to keep track of what their kids are up to; that’s probably good advice for any parent. Know who their friends are; know who they’re talking to; know the ages; know where they live; know their families,” said Trujillo.

This is a reminder that on the Internet, you can never be too sure who you’re talking to.

In this case, police say Thurlo did portray his rightful age and basic information on Myspace, and the communication continued with the girls for about four months before one of the girls’ mothers noticed nude photos on her daughter’s cellphone.

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