A 26-year-old man was arrested for having sex with a 15-year-old girl he met through the internet video game Fortnite, according to Lee County police.
Dillon Atkinson, is charged with lewd conduct and lewd assault on a victim between the ages of 12 and 16, according to a police warrant. This type of crime is also known as rape, a Florida prosecutor said.
On Dec. 26, the victim’s parents called police after discovering an online conversation between the girl and someone with an email address matching Atkinson’s name on the girl’s school Chromebook, the complaint said. warrant.
When the father asked about the chat, the girl replied that the man was 26 years old and that she “had a sexual relationship” with him. Similarly, the girl told him that she had met the man in Fortnite in June.
Fortnite is an internet video game where several players participate for free in a “Battle Royale”, in which they write a word and collaborate to survive. The game’s creator, Epic Games, is currently facing a civil lawsuit from parents in Canada who argue that the game was designed to make players addictive, McClatchy News reported. The lawsuit alleges that the company designed Fortnite to “create a dependency on users without realizing the risks associated with the game,” ABC 7 reported.
In a statement, an Epic Games spokeswoman said the company has protections in place for younger players, such as parental controls that allow players to report any inappropriate behavior during games. The company also offers accounts for players under the age of 13 who require parental consent to access certain levels, such as the chat.
“We take reports about the safety of our players very seriously and investigate them with great care, while working directly with law enforcement to take any necessary action,” the statement said.
Atkinson raped the teen on at least two occasions, according to the arrest warrant.
Police arrested Atkinson on December 29 in Fort Myers, a town about 130 miles south of Tampa.
In a statement after his arrest, Atkinson said he met the girl on Fortnite and began chatting with her and making video calls through the app known as Discord. The communication between the two began in a friendly way, but she later “became romantic.”
Atkinson told police that he knew the girl was a minor because she told him she was 16 years old. The legal age in Florida is 18 years old.
Atkinson remains in custody on $100,000 bond, according to Lee County records.
Translation by Jorge Posada