SIOUX FALLS, SD - Police are urging parents to talk to their kids about their online habits following the arrest of a Sioux Falls man for using a fake social network profile to rape a teenage girl. Police are now wondering whether 32-year-old Mark Christians targeted other girls using the same ruse.
Christians appeared in court Friday charged with two counts of rape. Investigators say he passed himself off as a 15-year-old girl on a social networking site where he befriended the 15-year-old victim. Police say it was an invitation to a party that led to the girl's rape.
Pictures on the Internet show Christians posing proudly without his shirt. But a camera-shy Christians covered himself up as he entered court, accused of posing as a teenage girl named "Michelle" on a social website where he struck up a friendship with a 15-year-old girl.
"And then on December 30th, he basically said, 'We're having a party. Does anybody want to come?' And our victim responded she would," Sam Clemens of the Sioux Falls Police Department said.
Court papers say the victim replied she didn't have a ride to the party, so Christians, posing as Michelle, said Michelle's cousin "Ashton" would pick up the girl. Police say "Ashton" turned out to be Christians.
"Instead of taking the victim to the party, he took the victim back to his house and say they were going to stay there for a little bit and then go to the party. Once they were at his house, he began giving her alcohol and then ended up raping her. And it was the next day, he ended up taking her home and dropping her off," Clemens said.
The girl reported the rape to a school resource officer earlier this week and she picked Christians out of a photo lineup. Now that Christians is in custody, police want to know if other girls have been victimized by him.
"And so we're asking parents to talk with their teenagers, check with their social network sites to make sure that there hasn't been any correspondence or messages back and forth," Clemens said.
The judge set Christians bond at a half-million dollars. Christians will be back in court on January 20.
According to court papers, Christians was on probation for aggravated assault and his third DUI conviction.