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Police: New App Could Be Attracting Predators

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The endless stream of new apps are hard to keep up with, but parents need to keep pace because local police say they're dealing with a horrific case involving an app they've never even heard of.

Fox 29's Sabina Kuriakose has a warning from police all parents should see.

Bensalem Police want you to know about a new way predators could be targeting your kids.

"27 years later just when you think you've seen it all something else happens. These types of crimes are becoming more and more prevalent," said Bensalem Public Safety Director Fred Harran.

Police say a 16-year-old Bucks County girl was allegedly raped by a 42-year-old man she met online.

It's the kind of case Harran sees too often, but this one has a different twist.

“She met him on a social networking site “Whisper,’ said Harran.

"Whisper" is marketed as an anonymous social media app where users can post their deepest secrets. It's been around for a few years, but this is the first time Bensalem Police say they've come across it in a case.

It's as anonymous as you want it to be. However, people eventually meet up with these people and it's not anonymous anymore.

Police are still investigating the case, but police say, Michael Dougherty of Levittown communicated with the teen through the app for weeks.

On Sunday night, he allegedly picked the girl up at Neshaminy Mall. According to police, he raped her inside the Lincoln Motel on Route 1. Court documents say Dougherty videotaped part of the assault. The teen was able to call for help and Dougherty was arrested.

Bucks County residents like Fran Hopkins say social media is evolving so fast that parents and guardians have a tough time keeping up.

Father of two Chuck Lewandowski says he's heard of “Tinder,” which is an app that connects you with nearby strangers. He has seen his friends use the app.

These sites are popping up every day we can't keep up with them and the laws can't keep up with them

App “Grindr” has made recent headlines locally when it was allegedly used by predators to meet and assault victims.

Harran says it's not the apps themselves that are unsafe, but the anonymity of the person on the other

“You need to run into one bad person, one bad person, and your life is changed forever,” he said.

Fox 29 reached out to “Whisper” we did not hear back. Many of these apps including the ones we mentioned have terms of service that prohibit harassment of other users.

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