June 19, 2008

Local Teen Faces Child Molestation Charges

By Patti Dozier, Thomasville Times-Enterprise, Ga.

Jun. 19--THOMASVILLE -- The Thomas County teen charged Tuesday with aggravated child molestation will have to petition Thomas County Superior Court for a bond hearing.

The suspect, John Duncan McCormick, 17, was denied bond in Thomas County Magistrate Court. He remains in the Thomas County Jail.

McCormick, a Thomas County Central High School student, is charged with having sex with a girl under the age of 14. An act of sodomy is involved in the June 5 incident, said Maurice Holmes, a Thomasville Police Department detective.

Police were contacted early Monday morning after a friend of the victim told the girl's mother a boy had been at the family home while the mother was away.

"She confronted her daughter about it, and the child disclosed she had been involved in a sexual act with the young man who had been to the home," Holmes explained.

The girl told police she met McCormick, of 7570 Metcalf Road, through MySpace.com

"She only knew him by his MySpace name," the detective explained.

Via McCormick's MySpace page, the girl and the suspect text-messaged on cell phones.

An investigation is under way to determine if there are other victims.

The penalty for an aggravated child molestation conviction is five to 20 years in prison.

"He's not denying it happened," Holmes said.

Aggravated child molestation is one of the seven crimes considered forcible felonies in Georgia. A Superior Court judge must conduct a bond hearing in the cases.

Holmes said parents should monitor their children's computer habits carefully and closely.

Youngsters communicate with the world by computer, and some people prey on them, the detective explained.

He said MySpace is a catalyst for many crimes involving children and individuals who prey on them.

Other MySpace dangers involve local 13- and 14-year-olds sending gang-related messages worldwide. Big-city gang leaders do not like interference in their activities, Holmes said.

Although some of the gang items entered here might be more bravado than truth, gang leaders in large cities do not realize the messages are not true.

"A lot of parents are oblivious that this is going on," Holmes said.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 220.


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