How Net Sex Fiend Trapped My Girl; BACKGROUND as US Law Enforcement Agencies Seek the Extradition of Raymond Bohning, Richard McComb Examines the Ease with Which the Cyberspace Paedophile Trapped His Birmingham Victim
Sophie's father David is under no illusions about the actions of sexual predator Raymond Bohning.
``What he did amounted to rape. He stripped away my daughter's innocence,'' he said.
David was stunned to discover his trusted only daughter, the girl he called his ``little princess'', had been duped by the internet paedophile.
``I still can't quite believe how my daughter got involved with this man,'' the 44-yearold said.
Sophie, whose name like her father's has been changed to protect her identity, is still at school.
``All of her friends are very bright. Academically, they are high fliers. They are not silly girls and they have got their heads screwed on.
``But it shows common sense goes out the window if a teenager is told what they want to hear.
``I trusted Sophie implicitly. I was 100 per cent convinced she would never get involved in anything like this, but she did,'' said David.
Sophie, then aged 13, and her school friends usedMicrosoft's MSN Messenger service to exchange homework tips and gossip, but somehow Vietnam War veteran Bohning managed to infiltrate the group.
Posing as a 19-year-old called Adam, he encouraged the girls to email him pictures, which they took using the webcams attached to their family's home computers.
Bohning, a former chemical engineer, viewed the pictures on a computer at his home in Hollywood, a coastal resort known as the ``Diamond of the Gold Coast'' between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida.
It was from here that he decided to target Sophie, and launched the next stage of his scheme.
Sophie recalled: ``A friend of mine was talking to Adam before me. She said she felt really weird talking to him, she felt uncomfortable.
``She copied me into the online conversations because I am her friend. Maybe she thought he'd stop asking herquestions and go on to me.'' Bohning asked Sophie sexually-orientated questions but she said she felt safe because he lived in Miami. ``I thought, `That's OK, he's miles away from us,''' she said.
``I would tell him about my day. He built up my confidence. He was messing with my mind and playing games to make it feel like it was OK to talk to him.''
Bohning then asked Sophie for her telephone number and despite her reluctance, she gave in when he became persistent. When she first heard his voice and queried his age, he said he had lied and was 38. In fact, Bohning was 57.
The American, still purporting to be Adam, started calling her at home. …