The smiling doofus up there is 29-year-old Eugene Ballantyne of Running Springs, California. Ballantyne was recently arrested on child porn charged when it was discovered that he had been allegedly trading explicit pictures with a 13-year-old girl from New Jersey. Ballantyne is said to have met the girl on the anonymous chat site Omegle.
For those of you not familiar with Omegle it is a chat site that lets you talk with random strangers either through text or webcam. Their motto is “Talk to Strangers.” Their terms of service allow anyone as young as 13 to be on their site. The instructions and warnings on their site are kind of disturbing…
Omegle is a great way of meeting new friends. When you use Omegle, we pick another user at random and let you have a one-on-one chat with each other. Chats are completely anonymous, and you can disconnect whenever you like, although there is also nothing to stop you from revealing personal details if you choose to.
Do not behave inappropriately on Omegle, and understand that human behavior is fundamentally uncontrollable. The people you encounter on Omegle may not behave appropriately. Use Omegle at your own peril, and do not use Omegle if you are under 13, or without a parent/guardian’s permission if you are under 18. Disconnect if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable.
So as far as I can tell the chats are unmoderated and anything goes. I respect the fact that Omegle has the right to do business as they see fit as slimy as it is. However, I would imagine that this site would be a goldmine for would be predators looking to talk to an underage girl just like Ballantyne allegedly did.
Reports say that Ballantyne was well aware of her age especially considering that he told the girl to not tell anyone and to delete all his texts and e-mails. Ballantyne also allegedly admitted to receiving explicit images from a 15-year-old girl and driving 180 miles to have sex with a 17-year-old girl.
Again I have to remind parents that you shouldn’t be allowing your kids to go on sites like Omegle nor should they have webcams. No 13-year-old girl should be chatting with strangers on the internet. As I’ve said many times before sites like Omegle don’t give a shit about your kids and you are the only defense between your kids and the sexual predators that lurk on the internet.