A man from Altoona, Pennsylvania has been arrested for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl he met on the popular dating app, Tinder. The incident came to light when state police spoke with the 14-year-old girl on September 19, as reported by an NBC station based in Johnstown-Altoona, Pennsylvania.
During their conversation, the girl revealed that she had met 32-year-old Steven Ellis on Tinder after creating a profile that falsely portrayed her as older. According to court documents, police discovered that the teenager and Ellis had been exchanging explicit messages and photos. Even after the girl disclosed her true age to Ellis, the inappropriate communication continued. The girl informed investigators that she and Ellis had made plans to meet and engage in sexual activities.
When they met near the girl’s residence, she claimed that Ellis “kissed” and “fondled” her. At one point, Ellis allegedly asked the girl to delete their messages, but she allegedly responded by saying that he couldn’t get her into trouble. In his response, Ellis reportedly stated, “Yeah, but your trouble doesn’t end up with you on a list that pretty much removes your rights to be a human being, and people will look at me a certain way for the rest of my life if we get caught.”
To gather evidence, investigators examined traffic cameras near the girl’s home, which captured Ellis’s vehicle. Following their investigation, Ellis was arraigned on charges including unlawful contact with a minor, child pornography, and several other counts. He was ordered to be held on $250,000 bail and remanded to the Blair County Prison.
This case highlights the dangers associated with online platforms and emphasizes the importance of parental supervision and awareness regarding their children’s online activities. It serves as a reminder for individuals to exercise caution when interacting with strangers online, particularly on dating apps where age verification may be lacking.