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-   -   Men's room predators approached my son in CLE 7/21/07 (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/practical-travel-safety-security-issues/716736-mens-room-predators-approached-my-son-cle-7-21-07-a.html)

toomanybooks Jul 21, 07 11:09 am

Men's room predators approached my son in CLE 7/21/07
 
Not sure if this is an appropriate thing to post, or in the right spot. Moderators, please handle as you wish.

This morning about 10:00 - 10:30 at CLE, my 10-year old son was approached by 2 apparent predators in a men's room near the WN gates. They asked him to go into the handicapped stall with the promise of candy; fortunately, he was smart enough to be able to get away from them and was unharmed.

Airport police were of course notified right away. I do not know the outcome yet.

I was not there and his mom had thought it was safe enough to let him go in alone for a quick stop.

I don't know if this warning will be of use to anyone, but thought I'd post it.

EDITED: My wife sent me a detailed description of what occurred, given below in Post #14.

Daringdoo Jul 21, 07 11:15 am

How frightening!
Obviously you taught your son well.

Hugs to you, and your family.

Superguy Jul 21, 07 11:18 am

Good job teaching your son to be smart. ^

I hope the airport PD found those guys.

Cholula Jul 21, 07 11:22 am

toomanybooks, thanks for sharing and I too am glad that the incident ended as it did.

Since this happened in an airport while your son was traveling and it's a major airport that many FT'ers pass through, I'm going to leave it in this forum for now.

Please let us know of any further developments.

________________
Cholula
Travel Safety/Security Forum Moderator

myrgirl Jul 21, 07 11:47 am

How scary! Thank goodness he was smart and didn't fall for it. That's such an awkward age for children when out and about with an opposite sex parent. Some buildings really need family restrooms.

coachrowsey Jul 21, 07 1:00 pm

You did teach your son well for sure. Sad to say this is happening more & more at airports. There just are no safe places any more.

essxjay Jul 21, 07 1:00 pm


Originally Posted by myrgirl (Post 8095337)
Some buildings really need family restrooms.

For new constructions that seems sensible. But to create a new code w/retrofitting mandates ala "Think of the children!" ... oy!

I fail to understand why the OP's son is somehow "smart" about strangers' bribes for candy (or anything else). Don't most parents teach their children well about personal boundaries, e.g. the "bathing suit lines" talk by the age of 5 or 6, repeated as necessary? I can't imagine that this basic coaching has somehow gone out of fashion. Developmentally speaking, a normal 10-year-old has the capacity for self-preservation in unfamiliar situations anyway.

{edited to add:}


Originally Posted by coachrowsey (Post 8095578)
You did teach your son well for sure.

Agreed. Thumbs up for dad. ^


Sad to say this is happening more & more at airports. There just are no safe places any more.
There's never been a Golden Age of Public Safety, so I doubt that this event happens more than ever at airports or any other place humans gather.

dhuey Jul 21, 07 1:36 pm

This is incredibly brazen on the part of the predators. It's inside security, so no there are cameras everywhere, and no easy escape. Two men working together is also extraordinary.

dhuey Jul 21, 07 1:48 pm


Originally Posted by essxjay (Post 8095580)
...There's never been a Golden Age of Public Safety, so I doubt that this event happens more than ever at airports or any other place humans gather.

I couldn't agree more. It's so common to long for an age that never existed. Anyone who thinks that sexual predation of children is a modern phenomenon should learn some history.

etch5895 Jul 21, 07 3:06 pm


Originally Posted by dhuey (Post 8095714)
This is incredibly brazen on the part of the predators. It's inside security, so no there are cameras everywhere, and no easy escape. Two men working together is also extraordinary.

I would have to agree. An airport is a pretty public place to do something like this. How close is this bathroom to the exit (I'm assuming it is within the secure area)?

Would someone buy a refundable plane ticket in an attempt to do something like this thinking that being airside would cause people not to worry as much about personal safety? I admit I've never heard of something like this happening before.

:td: to child sex predators.

dhuey Jul 21, 07 3:29 pm

Considering how extraordinary this incident is, toomanybooks, I wonder if you see any possibility that your boy somehow misinterpreted the situation. Humans can be very strange, so I don't doubt that a couple of sickos might try something like this, but it boogles the mind that they would do something with such a high probability of getting caught.

Obviously a 10-year-old alone in an airside restroom has mom/dad or some other responsible adult very close by, and probably within earshot of a scream. If that happens, the perps are in very deep trouble, as there are all sorts of cops and security guards nearby, not to mention plenty of bystanders who would promptly volunteer to tackle these guys and beat them to a pulp.

Still, people sometimes do some pretty inexplicable things, so your boy might have gotten this one 100% correct.

essxjay Jul 21, 07 6:00 pm


Originally Posted by etch5895 (Post 8096012)
Would someone buy a refundable plane ticket in an attempt to do something like this thinking that being airside would cause people not to worry as much about personal safety?

Humans have the capacity for imagination that other species do not, so of course this scenario is a possibility.


I admit I've never heard of something like this happening before.
There have been other reports of this on FT. And if you stop to think about it for a minute public bathrooms are frequent spots for all sorts of consensual and non-consensual exchanges.


:td: to child sex predators.
Agreed.

If Dante were alive to today and keeping score, he'd probably put sexual predators at the very lowest levels of Circle Eight in Hell: either in Bolgia 9 (where sowers of discord are hacked at by a sword-wielding devil, who delivers the blows round-after-incessant-round just as their earlier wounds have healed), or Bolgia 10 (where various sorts of falsifiers, including impersonators, are afflicted with different types of diseases).

Cannily, Dante pegs Corrupt Politicians as the nearly next-door neighbors to the lot in levels 9 and 10. Bolgia 5 denizens:


etch5895 Jul 21, 07 7:15 pm

I would expect to hear of something like this in a bus station or even train station bathroom, but in an airport after going through security and facing the likelihood of being seen and identified? Brazen is not the word...

I'm picturing a screaming, kicking kid raising all kinds of ruckus in a bathroom stall and someone coming to their aid or at least calling the police. Of course, maybe these would-be sex offenders have ways to keep their prey quiet in a busy airport bathroom.

toomanybooks Jul 21, 07 10:08 pm

(From the OP) My wife has emailed me a lengthy discussion of what happened. Here are the salient points. You should be aware that my son has some problems with verbal communication and sometimes acts weirdly, but is scrupulously honest and very rarely lies or makes things up.:

"We both had to use the restroom in the airport - ones that we have used many times over the last 10 years (in the Southwest gate area near Max and Erma's). We go over the rules. Go in, do not talk to anyone, do not goof around, do your business, wash your hands and come right out. Usually I say if you need me yell - I did not say that today. Also we have talked for years about strangers and danger... I went to the womens' room and was back out in front of the mens' room (they are side-by-side) as fast as possible. As I stood there two young men, perhaps in their early 20s, were walking out saying "Let's get out of here.... that was weird."

I called for [my son] - no answer.

I called again - he said yes. Then he came out pulling his Star Wars suitcase.

I asked what had happened in the bathroom - specifically if he was goofing around, acting like a Jedi or something. He said no, he was not. I asked if he had said anything to the men, he said no, not much really, so I asked what had happened.

He told me that he had gone in a urinal standing up because that is what men do. He was done and washing his hands. Then two "teenagers" came in; he called them thugs - I was not sure if
this was accurate at first... He said that they wanted to rob him. I questioned this. So then he said that one of the guys told him to go with them into the handicapped stall to get candy. He said that he read their minds and could tell that they wanted to trap him and rob him so he looked at the guys with an angry face and shook his head no.

Then he made a stronger angry face (bared teeth, wrinkled nose), shook his head from side to side like a crazed wild animal and growled at them. He said that they thought he was going to explode and go nuts so they left. And either before they left or just after, I am not sure which, he yelled, "I'll get you thieves and your little dog too." This must be the point at which I saw the guys leaving the bathroom.

I called [toomanybooks] on my cell and he suggested we report it to the police. The officer talked to me and then he talked to [my son], who told the story well, and described the young men as best he could. It was noteworthy that he got the hair, approximate ages, and lack of glasses easily and then after being asking about distinguishing marks (tattoos, scars, mustaches, etc.), he said 'No, they did not have any macho markings - they were just plain guys who wanted to trap me and steal my stuff.'"

So there you have it. It's certainly possible my son misinterpreted the situation, but I think it unlikely he would have made up the part about the candy, which sounds pretty nefarious on the face of it.

CLE police took my wife's phone number but she has heard nothing further, roughly 12 hours later.

dhuey Jul 21, 07 10:20 pm

Given the youth of these two adults, I wonder if one of them tossed out that candy in the handicap stall line as a joke -- an extremely inappropriate joke.


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