A 26 year old U.S. man has been arrested on charges that he molested a teenage boy he met through Xbox Live, according to a report by the Associated Press news agency.
Ronnie Watts of Placerville, California has yet to enter a plea against charges including using the Internet to solicit a minor and is due back in court on January 20th, after being freed on bail. He was arrested on December 15th, after the 14 year old boy revealed details of the alleged incident to his mother.
Watts is alleged to have contacted the boy in October or November via Xbox Live, with their relationship progressing from there via e-mails and other means. It is further alleged that after the boy gave Watts his home address and telephone number they met in a Santa Rosa park in November where the molestation allegedly took place.
Police have seized an Xbox console, laptop computer and various cameras during their search of Watts’ home in Placerville, 150 miles east of Santa Rosa. The alleged crimes appear to be well covered by existing laws, and thus far, incidents such as this involving video game communities have proven rare.
But, as home consoles have begun to feature online functionality, the importance of parental supervision and controls are reinforced by such incidents. In late November, the ESA trade body revealed that
specific parental controls will be in place in new consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, and the already-launched Xbox 360 has parental controls to limit some online functionality, including voice chat.