Maine man finds grandson’s picture on gay dating web site

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STANDISH, Maine (WGME) — A Standish man is shocked after finding a gay chat room user hiding behind a photo of his teenage grandson.As a digital minister, Peter Files spends a lot of time on the Internet.About two weeks ago, he said, research landed him on the gay dating website Bros4Bros.

“I was reading some of the profiles, then happened to stumble across my grandson’s picture,” said Files.

A screen grab shows the 13-year-old’s face among dozens of pictures of men, some nearly naked.

“When I found it, I mean, I was shaking, my blood pressure went up, I started sweating,” he said.

Shocked and scared, he called his daughter, Samantha.

“I went and looked at the picture and I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s one of his old Facebook profile pictures,'” said Samantha Files.

They took action right away, demanding the user and site take it down.

“It’s crazy,” said Samantha. “I just don’t know what somebody would want with that picture.”

State Police said this is a disturbing, but common trend, and often, it isn’t a crime.

“When it’s just posing as someone else on the Internet, or saying, ‘This is my son or daughter,’ what have you, I don’t think there’s really a statute that covers it,” said Lt. Glenn Lang, who heads the Maine Computer Crimes Task Force.

Lang said cases like this one are especially troubling.

“Anytime you have a young child’s picture used in this type of context, it begs the question, what is the purpose? What is the person looking for?” said Lang.

Lang said it’s hard to claim copyright of the photo once it’s in a public place. He said it’s best to make social media settings as private as possible and restrict your profile to just friends.

It’s a step Samantha Files has already taken for her son’s Facebook page.

“There’s at least some risk anytime you put your child’s photo or they put their photo on the Internet,” said Lang. “No matter what site it is, there is a certain level of risk.”

The Files family is now well aware of that risk.

“I’ve heard of those things happening, but you figure it’s not gonna happen to you,” said Files. “And then when it does, it kind of sets you back. Big wake up call.”

Files said the photo was taken down Friday night, just a few hours after CBS 13 reached out to Bros4Bros for comment. The company did not respond to a voice-mail or Facebook message asking about it’s policies.

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