Lt. Dave Constantineau has never been a huge fan of Facebook.
"It has a lot of great applications and uses, but people on Facebook, particularly our children, need to be careful as to who they allow to access their accounts. I don’t care who you are, nobody has 500 friends, and you should be careful about the information you share and with whom," he said.
A recent complaint from a Muskego mom has the popular social media site even lower on his list.
On Monday, Nov. 21, a Muskego mother came into the police department to report that her 14 year old son had been contacted on Facebook by a man they had met at a family funeral earlier in the day. That man turned out to be a 37 year old Big Bend resident who was convicted and served time in prison for possession of child pornography, and is now a registered sex offender.
Along with the woman and her son, her sister-in-law, also of Muskego, came into the police department and reported that her 16 year old son has had intermittent Facebook contact with this man for two years.
Neither boy ever met with, or had any other contact with the man, according to Constantineau.
"They have both since blocked his access to their Facebook accounts, although one of them did receive another Facebook message from a name they did not recognize complaining about the boy blocking people for no reason," he explained. "It is possible this account was an alias account for this man, but we have no proof of that."
Constantineau went on to explain that the man did not break any laws in contacting the boys. "He has paid his debt for the crimes for which he was convicted, he is not under any type of supervision, and his activities are not restricted," he said.
However, he recognized that parents should be understandably disturbed and upset that their children are being contacted by a convicted sex offender. Police also looked at his Facebook account, which shows that this man is “friends” with a number of young men who claim Muskego High School as their location.
As there have been no charges nor any arrests in this case, and there have been no accusations that this man has made actual contact with any young men, the man will remain unidentified here.
"My goal in providing you with this information is so that you can impress upon your children that not everyone who wants to be, or claims to be their friend actually is a friend. Everyone should be very careful what they put on Facebook or any other social network site, and even more careful who they allow to view it," Constantineau said.
He stressed that parents have a key role in keeping their kids safe, even if they're accused by their kids of invasion of privacy.
"I’m sorry, but as a parent, if it takes my invading my child’s 'privacy' to keep them safe, that’s tough, the kids will have to live with it. Take the time with your child to review your child’s friend list, inquire as to the relationship of names you do not recognize. Quite often certain friends on the list will jump out at you and seem odd. If your child cannot adequately explain who that friend is, block and remove that person from the friend’s list."
If you're not sure how to navigate on Facebook, and are concerned about any issues, the Muskego Police Department will have someone assist you.
In addition, if you want to cross-check any names appearing on a friend list against the state's sex offenders list, click here.