A North Port man has been arrested and faces multiple charges for crimes against children.
Shane Patrick Penczak, 45, has been arrested by the North Port Police Department and faces seven felony charges including lewd and lascivious battery on a child, allowing a child to engage in sexual activity, directly promoting a child to engage in sexual performance, viewing a child in the performance of sexual performance, using a computer to lure and seduce a child, and others.
Detectives, including NPPD’s digital forensic team, spent months collecting evidence in this case.
The gaming website Roblox has more than 178 million users. Reviews of the site say Roblox encourages players to “Imagine..Socialize…And chat” with others.
North Port police believe Penczak posed as a teenage girl to meet a young boy in the game.
Detectives say Penczak convinced the 13-year-old in New Jersey to send him explicit pictures. Then he used those pictures to blackmail the boy into sending him videos and performing sex acts online.
Josh Taylor, with North Port Police, said, “it is the worst of the worst. I mean, any types of crimes against children are just the worst that we see. I think when you read through some of the details, in this case, it’s disgusting. ”
WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko said, “that can sometimes force them to continue the activity when they really don’t want to.”
Taylor said the victim’s parents noticed a change in his behavior, and that’s when he admitted what was going on.
Local and federal authorities traced the crime to Penczak and arrested him this week. His home is steps away from an elementary school.
“If you look at the details of this case, I mean, they are things that will certainly impact a child’s emotions and potentially scar them for life,” said Taylor.
A neighbor said, “in today’s world, nothing surprises anybody anymore.”
WINK News spoke with Lindsay Olson, executive director of the Exploited Children Division with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She said parents must know what their kids are doing online and talk to them.
“Let their kids know that if something does happen to them that makes them feel uncomfortable, that they can go talk to their parent about it,” said Olson.
NPPD says it is also working with the Department of Homeland Security investigations nationally and out of Tampa. Police say there are likely other victims of Penczak to be found.
Penczak is currently being held in the Sarasota County Jail on no bond.