Reddit Mods Accused Of Covering Up Teen’s Warning About Kidnapper ONE WEEK Before He Is Arrested For Abusing Runaway Girl

Natasha Biase

Reddit has been accused of complacency in a kidnapping case after social media users noted that moderators of a controversial community deleted a teen’s warning about a man who was abducting and sexually abusing runaway girls. Just one week after the post was scrubbed, the man was arrested on charges related to child sexual abuse.

The horrific story first came to light through X account @reddit_lies, which documents many issues on Reddit. According to the thread, a 14-year-old girl posted a soon-removed post on the r/runaway community, a subreddit dedicated to minors who have run away from home. In the post, the girl was warning other users about a man who frequented the subreddit and had housed her and two other runaways.

Prefacing her post with her reasons for running away from home, the girl summarizes what happened during her stay with the stranger, who she met through the subreddit.

“He housed two other runaways and frequently talked about actively ‘consensually’ having sex with one of them. He also wanted to have sex with me. Although, I knew it was wrong. I have been sexually abused for years and got attached to him.”

But the girl’s warning and details on the man she had been abused by was quickly scrubbed from the community by moderators.

One week later, the 32-year-old man she had warned others about was arrested for sexually abusing a child he had met through Reddit. Trevon Nathaniel Langstaff was charged with the “transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity” after a federal criminal complaint was filed against him.

As noted in a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, officials received a complaint after a 14-year-old runaway teen’s family discovered she was missing. 

After conducting a search around the neighborhood, one of the girl’s friends admitted that she had said the week earlier that she met a man on Reddit who “harbored runaways,” and promised to give her a cellphone and a place to stay if she ran away from home.

After the complaint was filed, police raided Langstaff’s apartment in Long Beach and found the girl hidden in one of his closets. Although an investigation is still underway, Langstaff is reportedly facing “a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment.”

News that a minor came into contact with an adult male through the r/runaway subreddit concerned many on social media who accused the site of facilitating the separation of children from the safety of their families.

“r/runaway is a community that should not exist [in my opinion],” @reddit_lies said. “It encourages children to leave home, provides strategies on how to leave, and gives predators direct access to children in highly vulnerable situations,” wrote @reddit_lies, adding that these forums are bait for pedophiles.

Others, like one X user by the handle @TheyTrulyHateU, accused the moderators, who are responsible for setting rules to ensure subreddit content is appropriate and accurate, of being complicit in human trafficking.

“There is no other way of saying this: These particular Reddit mods are complicit in human trafficking (and probably sex offenses) I demand the authorities step in. The most difficult part of the job is already done.”

The r/runaway subreddit, which boasts over 13,000 members, describes itself as a “youth rights resource and community for the wanderers of the world,” that offers advice and resources to young women, including “safer alternatives to running away from home.”

Despite claiming to warn users about the dangers and risks of engaging with the subreddit, some moderators have admitted that they are aware of the “predator issue,” though claim to be actively trying to help combat it.

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