PLANTATION (CBS4) – Bruce Loy calls his wife, Tracey, his hero. That’s because the quick-thinking stepmom prevented what could have been a potentially dangerous situation for Bruce’s 10-year-old son.
Tracey was home with the boy one day in February when he was home sick. She heard the boy’s cell phone going off with text message after text message. Finally, she became curious and started asking questions.
“I said, ‘Who are you texting?’ And he said it was his friend,” she told CBS 4’s Carey Codd.
Tracey continued her investigation.
“I said, ‘Gee, is your friend home sick from school also?’ And he said, ‘No. He doesn’t go to school anymore,'” she remembered. “And I said, “How old is your friend?’ And he said, ’20.’
Tracey asked to see her stepson’s cell phone. She became concerned because the 20-year-old was asking a lot of questions.
“For any 20-year-old to have that much interest in a 10-year-old, there’s definitely something wrong,” she said.
Then, another text arrived.
“When I had the phone in my hand, the first thing that came through that was kind of weird was ‘What are you wearing?’ Tracey said.
Tracey immediately called her husband and the pair contacted the Plantation Police Department.
A detective continued the texting conversation with the adult by assuming the 10-year-old’s identity.
According to a police report, that’s when the texts became more sexually graphic with questions about the boy’s anatomy, an offer to meet and even an offer of money.
The boy’s father was following the conversation.
“While the detective was receiving (the texts), she was reading it to me and it was pretty horrifying,” Bruce said.
Investigators set up a time and place to meet the 20-year-old and watched him ride up on his bicycle and pass by the house several times.
Police arrested Andrew Bryanspence and charged him with three counts — computer child exploitation, attempted lewd conduct and traveling to meet a minor.
According to the police report, Bryanspence “admitted to the majority of the electronic communications and stated he wasn’t really going to do” anything.
Bryanspence’s attorney, Mickey Rocque, said his client intends to fight the charges.
“He is innocent,” Rocque told CBS 4 News. “There’s always more to the story than meets the eye.”
The Loy’s are simply grateful their son never saw any of the lurid texts.
“My son is innocent and he would have lost some of that innocence,” Bruce said.
The couple believe their experience provides a sober lesson for all parents of children with cellphones, computers and a Facebook account.
“Their phone is your phone,” Bruce said. “Their email account is your email account. It’s not about protecting your children’s privacy or trusting them. It’s about protecting their lives.”