Tonight on Channel 11 at ten listen to the mother of one of the children affected by the child predator tell how she was able to lead authorities to the suspect by using Facebook.
Thanks to the persistence of an East Montgomery County mom, and the determination of members of the Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, a child predator with multiple known victims is behind bars. Not only have they saved the children he was pursuing and victimizing through social media, but his young daughter’s 2008 outcry of sexual abuse has also been reexamined resulting in an indictment.
An in-depth multi-agency investigation led by Montgomery County Precinct 4 Capt. Mark Seals and Sgt. Art Looza produced damning evidence sent to preteen girls he befriended through Facebook, including not only messages that were sexual in nature, but also webcam video of 49-year-old Duane Charles Parker of Lafayette Louisiana masturbating while discussing what he would like to do to his victims.
Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden, who at one point had five men working on the investigation, said Parker was every parent’s nightmare.
“He’s the person you warn your kids about, and the reason we have to teach our children not to talk to strangers in person or online, even if they seem nice.” Constable Hayden said. “At almost 50 years old, Mr. Parker managed to befriend well over a dozen little girls without their parents’ knowledge with the intention of using them for his own twisted sexual gratification.”
So far, Duane Parker (a.k.a. Parker Duane, a.k.a. Johnny Pepper), is charged with 2 counts of second-degree felony Online Solicitation of a Minor Under 14 (Montgomery County); and 1 count of first-degree felony Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child (Galveston County). Parker’s bond is set at $300,000 ($100,000 for each charge).
His request for a bond reduction on the first two charges was denied in a Montgomery County court last Thursday. The same day, a Galveston County grand jury returned an indictment on the third and most serious charge, which was the result of a CPS investigation launched after Parker’s then 6-year-old daughter claimed he was sexually abusing her. That complaint was filed in 2008 by the child’s then 24-year-old mother. Records indicate the girl was born when the mother was 17 and Parker was 39.
With no action taken in the case, the couple split up but Parker retained parental rights to the now 10-year-old girl, who was with him at the time of his August 13 arrest. That child’s mother has a 6-year-old daughter by a different father and the 6-year-old was also with Parker when he was arrested. The mother lives in Kingwood, but the girls had been with Parker in Lafayette. His business, “1-800-CRAWFISH” or “Crawfish Unlimited” involves frequent trips between south Louisiana and southeast Texas.
Capt. Seals and Sgt. Looza believe there may be many more victims who have not come forward or who never knew Parker’s true identity.
Parker lived in Texas in 2008 when his daughter’s mother contacted Child Protective Services. He was convicted of Indecent Exposure in Galveston in 2010 after exposing his penis to a 17-year-old Starbucks employee as he sat in his vehicle at a drive-thru window. It is unclear exactly when Parker moved to Lafayette because he kept his Texas Driver’s License, which has the address of what is now a parking lot and was once a UPS store where he rented a mailbox.
“Every address connected with Duane Charles Parker was bogus,” Capt. Seals said.
The East Montgomery County mom who first alerted authorities, and whose identity is withheld to protect her family’s privacy, began noticing comments by an unfamiliar name on her daughter’s Facebook page. The person posting as “Parker Duane” was using a photo of a sports car as a profile picture, and listed no date of birth. The mom said her daughter, who turned 12 this year, accepted Parker’s friendship because they had several mutual friends, and all of them were schoolmates. It is unknown how Parker found and first connected with the circle of female friends (17 at last count), all of whom are now in the seventh grade. At first, the girl and her mother assumed with so many mutual friends, some of them must have known “Parker Duane” personally.
Parker began clicking “like” on the girl’s Facebook posts and when they frequently posted photos of themselves, as young girls do, Parker posted comments like “beautiful,” “I’m in love” and “XOX” using hearts and other flirtatious words and symbols typically used by preteens on one another’s pages. He also sent instant and private messages that became progressively inappropriate and the mom took control of her daughter’s account. Parker quickly confirmed the mother’s suspicions when he sent her daughter a lengthy private message that began, “hey Beautiful, omg ur so Beautiful ur a dream ur someone id love to be mine…” The message continued with Parker rambling, at one point writing, “I know I may scar(e) u but im safe loving and could only love you…” He also discussed wishing he were in her room lying on her bed, with her on top of him. The message was followed by a video that showed the trunk section of an adult male (now known to be Parker) in bikini underwear, exposing his genitals and masturbating.
Around the same time, the mother of another 12-year-old girl in the group contacted the reportee mom, saying “Parker Duane” was also sending sexual messages and pornographic video to her daughter and she had proof he was a grown man. Signed onto her daughter’s Facebook account, that mother searched through his page history and finally found a shirtless photo he posted of himself, sitting on a black leather sofa and making a peace sign. Comparing the photo to Parker when he was arrested, it appears to be around 20 years old, which would still make him around 30 when the photo was taken
The reportee mom contacted law enforcement, but “Parker Duane’s” account was deleted.
Capt. Seals said his agency contacted the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children, or ICAC division because they had a lot of experience with child predators who used the internet.
All involved believed the unidentified predator had become paranoid and would probably move on to another group, using a different name. They were partially right. It was not long before Parker returned to Facebook using the name “Johnny Pepper,” and contacting the girls in the same ways as before. This time, however, law enforcement was on the receiving end of his messages and videos. They obtained permission from the mothers of both girls to take control of their Facebook accounts and continued communicating with Parker as though they were the girls.
Investigators were able to identify and ultimately apprehend Parker through his business on August 13 at a restaurant on I-45 in Webster where he arrived to deliver an order. Child Protective Services took custody of Parker’s daughter and her half-sister upon his arrest and both were interviewed. As of now, Parker has not been charged in connection with the younger girl.
The unearthing of the 2008 case regarding Parker’s daughter has ignited a firestorm of controversy in Galveston County, with officials trying to explain why the case was not pursued for four years, leaving Parker with the right to be alone with a child who claimed he sexually assaulted her.
“The case fell through the cracks,” Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo with the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office said. “Shortly after the case, Hurricane Ike hit and there were a number of services that involved things on the island that included the criminal justice system that kind of went through some delays because of the storm.”
“I’m not trying to use that as an excuse,” he said, “But is that what caused this particular case to fall through the cracks? We don’t know.”
“Things have changed since four years ago,” Tuttoilmondo said. “There’s better communication with the prosecutors – better communication with the district attorney’s office as a whole.”
“This is an unfortunate set of circumstances, and it certainly gives us pause to take a look at the entirety of the system so that we don’t have something like this happen again,” he said. “We need to figure out what happened with it first.”
District Attorney Jack Roady was not in office in 2008, and he and Tuttoilmondo agree that communication between the agencies has improved since then.
“When it became clear that there was still an unresolved investigation from 2008, our first priority was to get the evidence presented to the grand jury,” Roady said. “Last week, a Galveston County grand jury heard that evidence and indicted Parker for the offense of aggravated sexual assault of a child.”
“We are also working with the Sheriff’s Office to get to the bottom of what happened with the investigation back in 2008,” he said. “We will aggressively pursue this case to see that justice is done.”
Montgomery County officials had no comment on the controversy connected with the handling of the 2008 case in Galveston County.
Constable Hayden said the Galveston County agencies involved in the Montgomery County Precinct 4 investigation and arrest had been more than helpful and cooperative and his agency was very appreciative.
Captain Seals said were it not for the assistance of the Galveston County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office and the Friendswood Police Department, they might still be searching for Duane Parker. They also received assistance from Erin Smith and Morgan Dossey, of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
Precinct 4 contacted the FBI a couple of days before Parker’s arrest, and Sue Barrow from the FBI’s Conroe office was instrumental in getting Precinct 4 connected with the Louisiana State Police. On August 14, the Louisiana State Police secured and then initiated a search warrant at Parker’s Lafayette residence, removing evidence including multiple computers now being forensically analyzed. Additional charges are possible.
Constable Hayden hopes news of Parker’s arrest and his photo and other information will spread far and wide allowing any additional victims in Texas or Louisiana to come forward and seek justice.
Anyone who believes they have information regarding this case, or who may have been a victim, should contact Montgomery County Precinct 4, Captain Mark Seals, at 281-577-8985