“Numerous” Raleigh residents called 911 Tuesday worried about the fate of a young girl in a viral video who was being forced to perform sexual acts with an adult. The incident reportedly happened in Alabama, but the video was shared – and prompted much alarm – worldwide.
Authorities said a 44-year-old suspect had surrendered to police in Alabama and that the child in the video, whose age was not released, had been located and was safe.
Raleigh police, in a statement, told city residents that if they got the video and shared it, it could result in criminal charges.
Eleven felony charges have been filed against Germaine Moore, who surrounded to police early Tuesday in Millbrook, Ala., a city of about 14,500 north of Montgomery. Those charges include sexual assault of a child, distribution of a video of the assault and first-degree criminal sexual conduct, police said.
An Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force had investigated the sexual assault of a girl under the age of 13, according to a Central Alabama CrimeStoppers release. In addition to the Alabama charges, Moore faces active warrants in Detroit, Alabama authorities reported.
On Monday, authorities armed with a search warrant, arrived at Moore’s Millbrook home. He was not there, but his wife, Tonya Hardy Moore, was arrested when she failed to cooperate with investigators. She was charged with hindering prosecution and taken to jail, according to the release.
The task force became aware of the video on Jan. 31, when the agency, along with local authorities were notified “of a viral child video that was being widely disseminated throughout multiple social media platforms,” according to a task force media statement.
State and local law enforcement agencies, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Facebook, all investigated and concluded that the video probably originated in the Montgomery area.
“The video became viral worldwide and leads began pouring in from around the State of Alabama, the United States and other countries,” authorities reported.
Alabama authorities received a strong lead from police in Detroit, who also filed charges of first-degree sexual misconduct and related charges against Moore, according to the press statement.
Facebook is actively working to remove the video, according to the Alabama release.
Raleigh police told city residents that possession, dissemination or sharing of the video or similar videos is a criminal act: second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
In addition to investigating the circumstances of the assault, investigators are working to determine how and by whom the video was shared, Raleigh police said.
If you receive the video through social media, police say to do two things:
▪ report it to the social media platform it appeared on and to police,
▪ delete it immediately.