This Grieving Mother Turned A Family Tragedy Into A Legacy Of Justice

June 20, 2017

The extent and time that a predator puts into convincing a child they are safe and cared about is unimaginable. A predator can make up hundreds of profiles, making them seem trustworthy. They can have friends of the same age or close in age as the victims they pursue. They can continue a grooming process over an extended period of time, even incorporating parents, making their schemes even more believable.

According to one mother, Sonya Ryan, her 15-year old daughter Carly was hunted by a predator for 18 months, while he pretended to be a typical teenage boy named Brandon. The predator, a 50-year old pedophile named Gary Newman, continued to contact Carly online, gaining her trust until she believed she had fallen in love with Brandon, the alleged teenaged boy.

Gary Newman posed as the Brandon’s father and met the family at their home for Carly’s 15th birthday, but after he made sexual advances towards Carly, her mother banned him from ever speaking or seeing her daughter again.

Unfortunately, Carly still believed that she and Brandon were meant to be and arranged to meet him. Brandon turned out to be the 50-year old predator that killed Carly at the arranged meeting. During Gary Newman’s trial, it was revealed how extensive his plan was to persuade Carly into believing she was communicating with a teenage boy. He even went to the trouble of having a security uniform made when he played the part of the boy’s father. He had over 200 fake profiles online.

Today, almost a decade after Gary Newman’s life in prison sentence, Ms. Ryan has dedicated her life to educating other parents about the internet and how they can communicate openly with their children regarding online predators. Ms. Ryan stresses the importance of being aware of apps such as Omegle, which allows users to communicate with strangers. Apps such as Omegle make it easy for predators to target children who are only looking to make friends with kids their own age.

In addition, she petitioned the government to support a law known as Carly’s Law that would make it illegal for adults to misrepresent their age to minors online for the purpose of deceiving and persuading a child to meet with them. This would prevent a child from being harmed and hopefully stop the crime before it takes place.

She is also working tirelessly to decrease online bullying and child porn, as well as discovering the ways a child can encounter danger and abuse through the internet. She turned her daughter’s tragedy into a legacy for the future.

Posted in Safe Planning on June 20, 2017


About the Author Amy WIlliams

Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

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