Kristen is a 14-year-old girl. She hangs out online and meets boys, promising to fulfill their sexual fantasies. Boys, of course, would line up for the chance to meet Kristen, and were willing to do anything to get with her. But the catch was that in order to get the “goodies” from Kristen, you had to have sex with a grown man to prove your loyalty.
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Not only were the expectations of Kristen frighteningly unrealistic, the even harsher reality is that Kristen didn’t even exist. Kristen was the online creation of 29-year-old Antoine Johnson (pictured), a former intern and summer camp organizer for Hebron Baptist Church.
Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Timothy Hamil called the scheme “absolutely diabolical” as he gave Johnson a life sentence in prison for molesting two boys, ages 13 and 14. He was also sentenced for attempting to lure in a 15-year-old back in 2008. Johnson did most of his dirty work on MySpace and would even get on the phone with the boys, telling them that “Kristen” would be next in line for good sex if they got with him first.
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Johnson says that he created the online profile from a picture he took from a real girl. He claims that he created the profile to help a friend’s younger brother overcome self-confidence issues. One of the teens said that he went to meet Kristen one night and met Johnson instead. At 2 a.m., the two had oral sex in the driveway.
“At first I refused for a few weeks…but she kept asking me and asking me, and I gave in,” the boy said.
“I’ve been a prosecutor 13 years, and the defendant’s testimony was some of the most bizarre I’ve seen,” said prosecutor Nigel Lush. “We got a look inside the mind of a true pedophile.”
When he wasn’t out hunting down young boys, Johnson spent his time as a mentor for boys at his church. According to records, he mentored as many as 500 boys per week.
I wrote not long ago about the importance of being watchful of the men you allow around your children. While I’ve called regularly for Black men to step to the plate for a “fatherhood bailout” of our community, we must be realistic in admitting that some of these men are false heroes and are not well-intended. Our children should be trained to be watchful of anyone, skeptical of any unusual behavior, and willing to report any so-called advisor, mentor, or surrogate Dad who decides to do an Eddie Long imitation.
What is also important is that we should believe and support our kids when they report suspicious behavior. Some parents get trapped in to believing that their pastor, for example, can do no wrong. But in many cases, the most evil among us come dressed as saints.
Not only are boys in danger from men who abuse young boys, but our girls are in even greater danger. Not only are there more adult men willing to seduce or molest teenage girls, but this form of abuse is not taken nearly as seriously in our community. When R. Kelly was accused of peeing on a middle school on videotape (which was highly circulated throughout the Internet), many people kept buying his records as if nothing happened. So, not only are predators able to get access to our children, but their access is made easier because many of the adults around them do not even care.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.