CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. – A Cabarrus County Schools employee was arrested after authorities say he posed as a 14-year-old girl on Facebook to get nude photos of boys.
Michael Osborne, 40, was arrested Friday and charged with felony indecent liberties with a child.
According to Cabarrus County detectives, seven minor children from Cabarrus and Cumberland Counties have been identified as victims. They say the victims they’ve identified so far live in Cabarrus and Cumberland counties in North Carolina and in Illinois.
Detectives say Osborne was employed as a grounds maintenance worker by Cabarrus County Schools and coached several athletic teams for middle schools throughout the county.
He was suspended by the school system prior to his arrest and the school system is working with detectives to see if there are any more victims.
“Deception has been ongoing online,” said Dr. Anita Blanchard, associate professor od Psychology and Organization science at UNC Charlotte.
Blanchard is an expert on social networks and has been researching them since the 1990’s. She says posers have been a problem since the beginning.
“Back in 1998, a man posed as a paralyzed woman to seduce other women. It’s been happening since technology started,” said Blanchard.
With more teens using Facebook and other social media sites, Blanchard says parents need to pay closer attention to what’s happening in the cyber world.
“It’s new to us so it gets a lot of attention, but the importance of privacy and keeping stuff off the internet and teaching children about that is the important thing,” said Blanchard.
Osborne is currently being held under a $150,000 secured bond.
Investigators are working with Cabarrus County Schools to identify the other victims. If you know anything that can help them, call the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office.