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Authorities Arrest Tennessee Man Who Tried to Enroll in High School to Date Teen

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February is the month of love, so it is not surprising that love is in the air. This 21-year-old Tennessee man had too much and decided to throw all caution to the wind in pursuit of it. 

Authorities arrested the lovestruck man in northern Michigan after he attempted to enroll in their local high school. Not because education is so important to him, but only to date a student.

“I would strongly encourage parents to have conversations with their children about the dangers of online chatting and the sharing of information over the internet or social media platforms,” Sheriff Kim Cole said in a statement.

On the afternoon before Valentine’s Day, the unnamed suspect arrived at a district office on the shores of Lake Michigan. He allegedly posed as a 17-year-old and provided multiple fake names and dates of birth.

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The district employee contacted the building’s school resource officer, Deputy Luke Postma. And Postma was able to uncover a series of inconsistencies in the Tennessee man’s story.

The suspect’s name remains undisclosed, but he allegedly admitted it to authorities. He also told them he took a plane from Fort Campbell, Tennessee, to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Then, he went to Mason County and showed up at a district office to sign up for classes. “He had allegedly met a [Mason County Central School] student online in an effort to engage in a relationship with that student,” Cole’s office said.

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The sheriff praised the responding deputy and the school employee who reported the suspicious behavior. The Tennessee suspect faces charges of possession of child sexually abusive material and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He also faces charges of furnishing false information to a law enforcement officer.

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“Although I wished this series of events never unfolded, I couldn’t be more proud of the MCC employees, Deputy Postma, and our detectives. Sadly, situations like this are playing out every day, where adults are preying upon our children.”

For years, experts have been calling attention to the dangers of children chatting with strangers on the internet. In January, Washington state authorities warned parents about online chat apps after a 14-year-old girl vanished to resurface in South Haven, Michigan.

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They found her weeks later and arrested a 30-year-old registered sex offender named Keith Freeksen. Safety on social media is becoming an urgent topic as more parents look into ways to protect their wards. 

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Not too long ago, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, had to face a crowd of parents whose kids had fallen victim to online predators. He apologized and promised they would do more to safeguard minors needing it.

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