Registered sex offender pleads not guilty to raping three teenage girls

Updated: 02/18/2014 7:04 PM
Created: 02/18/2014 6:56 AM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen

A warning from child advocates following the arraignment of a North Chili man accused of raping three teenage girls he met on social media. With so many ways for your children to connect on social media, experts say it is getting harder and harder to keep them safe.

On Tuesday, 30-year-old Matthew Ringrose pled not guilty to charges he preyed on teenage girls he met on social media sites like Facebook. The prosecutor says he lied about his name and age to lure the victims.

Authorities say Matthew Ringrose, a convicted sex offender, used social media sites to reach out to these teenage girls. The advent of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices have made it much more difficult for parents to monitor who their children are encountering online.

Mary Whittier, Bivona Child Advocacy Center, said, "This is how kids socialize. This is how they communicate, and that's what we also need to tell our kids, that don't put out anything you don't want the entire world to see or hear.”

In the case of Ringrose, the prosecutor says he used a fake name and age while communicating with the three victims, whose ages were between 13 and 16. 

News10NBC found on Facebook using the name Matthew Rose. Investigators say after making contact with the girls, he then gained their trust, would drive out to their homes to meet them and then engaged in sexual activity with them. He's charged with several counts of rape. 

As News10NBC previously reported, we discovered Ringrose has a history of sexual offenses. He pled guilty in 2009 to raping a 15-year-old girl and is on the state sex offender registry.

At the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, they evaluated more than 1,600 children for sexual or physical abuse last year. Executive Director Mary Whittier says parents need to be vigilant, even demanding their children hand over their phones so you can check their text messages and on-line activity. 

Whittier said, "You know what, your children are still living with you and you're the parent. You have the rules and having rules around this kind of stuff is absolutely appropriate.”

The sheriff's department says it is still pouring through evidence trying to determine if there might be additional victims. If you believe your child has had contact with Matthew Ringrose, sheriff's investigators would like to speak with you. You can call 9-1-1.

As for Ringrose, he remains in the county lock-up on no bail.

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