Mother of alleged grooming victim speaks out - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Mother of alleged grooming victim speaks out

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ill. -- Days after substitute teacher, Nicholas Price was arrested for sex crimes, a mother is talking to News 3 about about her son's relationship with Price.

News 3's Emily Manley spoke with the mom who says she saw the inappropriate messages and photos Price sent her son through social media.

"I saw a change in him over a month ago and I could kick myself for not looking a little deeper then," the mother of the preteen said. "He was getting really secretive with his electronic devices like changing passwords and getting really uncomfortable when others were in the room when he was on his device," said the mother, who asked to remain anonymous for the safety of her child. 

She said that's when she took away his devices, "I knew that there was something inappropriate, but I had no idea that it was going to get to the level that it did." 

The mother claims 26-year-old Nicholas Price was sending nude pictures and inappropriate messages to her son via Snapchat and Instagram. 

"There were nude pictures that were sent that I actually witnessed," she said. "He was trying to get him to come over and hang out. The messages said that he (Price) was alone and wishes that he (my son) would come over and hang out. He (Price) had a password so he could verify that it was my child and not an adult he was trying to have a conversation with."

This mother says she found messages that dated back to December 22 asking her son to send selfies, "That is when I contacted police because that's when I knew something had to be done about it." 

Price was arrested Monday by the Franklin County Sheriff's Department just after he finished subbing at Ewing Grade School. 

Charging documents accuse Price of grooming and distributing harmful materials to minors. 

The documents say Price used the internet to transmit, seduce, lure or entice two minors to engage in unlawful sexual conduct. And sending images of nudity or sexual conduct to the minors. 

"Our whole community loved him, that's why this is just so devastating," said the boy's mother. "This has really shown us that you can't trust anybody."

Price was a teacher and coach in the Franklin County community and assistant Sunday school teacher at Immanuel Baptist Church in Benton

The alleged victim's mom says she knows of at least a handful of other alleged victims. All are boys between the ages of twelve and fourteen. 

"It's heartbreaking," she said. "It's a roller coaster of emotions. I'm mad, sad, and angry."

Her advice to the other parents out there is to take the time and check your child's phones, tablets and computers, "Monitor your child's device and go with your hut because that's what I did here, I went with my gut." 

News 3 reached out to the Franklin County Sheriff's Department multiple times, with some of the claims this mother and other parents have. We were told deputies, along with the State's Attorney are investigating, but the detective handling the case was unavailable to talk to us.

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