Tonight A Current Affair looks at the dark side of Social Media. , Tracy Grimshaw presents an alarming story that no parent can miss, laying bare the dangers of social media.
Jodie was just 15-years-old when she received a seemingly innocuous message on Facebook from Ashley Willats, then 24, formerly of Wyndham Vale, Victoria.
He told her he was 18, and as their conversations progressed, Willats eventually began to send her explicit images, and when asked to respond in kind, she did. But when Jodie felt it had gone too far she pulled back, as Willats began to message incessantly.
After Jodie tried to cut communications with Willats, he then messaged Jodie’s friend Jess, and threatened to leak explicit photos of Jodie if she didn’t contact him. Jess got scared and told the girls parents.
Police were initially reluctant to help, and the families worked tirelessly to convince them that this predator needed to face justice. A senior officer at Melton Crime Investigation Unit saw the importance of the case and worked with them to finally ensure Willats was sentenced for his crimes on May 28, 2018 in the County Court in Melbourne.
He was found guilty of numerous State and Commonwealth offences against at least 11 victims – the youngest of which was only 12 years old.
Jodie and Jess now tell their harrowing tale to Tracy Grimshaw, in hopes that it will help others remain safe, and be wary of the dangers that lurk on social media.
7pm Tonight on Nine