Child sex charges filed

Published 8:52 am Thursday, March 27, 2014

JACKSON – A Seaboard man faces numerous child sex charges, to include abduction and statutory rape, following his arrest on Tuesday.

Anthony Roosevelt Stephenson, 53, is jailed in the Northampton County Detention Center under a $255,000 bond as he awaits his first court appearance today (Thursday) in Jackson.

Anthony Stephenson

Anthony Stephenson

According to Chuck Hasty, Captain of Criminal Investigations for the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, Stephenson was arrested without incident in Seaboard by Sheriff’s Investigator Courtney Williams. Other than the statutory rape and abduction charges, Stephenson was also arrested for indecent liberties with a child, and soliciting a minor by computer or other electronic device.

One day prior to the arrest, the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office received a report from a concerned parent about some activity on their child’s cell phone. Hasty said the parent spoke with Williams about what was on the cell phone, thus launching an investigation.

“During the investigation it was revealed that Anthony Roosevelt Stephenson was texting the juvenile inappropriate messages via a cell phone,” Hasty said. “Investigator Williams also learned that Mr. Stephenson had allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with the juvenile.”

In a day and age where electronic devices are seemingly used more and more by adults to prey on youngsters, Hasty offered some advice to parents in an effort to protect their children.

“For starters, I would suggest placing the computer in your home in a central location where parents can easily observe what their children are doing, what web sites they are visiting, who they may be chatting with online,” Hasty said. “I would also suggest removing the webcam from the computer.”

Other suggestions from Hasty included having parents to invest in filters or software that prevents their children from visiting certain websites. Additionally, parents are encouraged to gain knowledge of the passwords their children use to gain access to online sites.

“Parents can easily check the computer’s history to see the websites your child or children are visiting,” Hasty said. “The same applies for their cell phones or smart phones. You can see who they are messaging and vice-versa.

“One of the biggest warning signs that your child may be engaged in illicit electronic messaging is that they will become very secretive, to include going behind a closed door in your home, while online or using their phone,” Hasty added. “Parents need to discuss with their children the difference between acceptable behavior and what’s not proper for any adult to discuss, verbally or electronically, with a child. It’s our job, as parents, to protect our children.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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