An Ohio man has been sentenced to 22 years in jail after he was caught by a Toronto dad posing as a preteen girl.
Cliff Ford helped U.S. authorities bust an online child exploitation ring after his 12-year-old daughter received an email from a stranger.
Ford's daughter received an email in January with the subject line, "Hey sexy." He requires his children to provide him access to all of their email and social media accounts, and had his daughter's emails forwarded to his cellphone.
"I called my daughter right away and I said, 'I think somebody is sending you inappropriate messages and I have to take over your accounts at this point,''
"We had these rules in place for just this type of situation."
He found out that his daughter had been messaging a stranger in a chatroom in the days before the email was sent. He decided to pose as his daughter over the next three days, and convinced the stranger to share his full name and address.
"I had to kind of dig around and ask questions here and there to try and pinpoint not only his location but his full name, and also to capture the chat logs that showed that he was being a predator towards my daughter," Ford said.
The stranger was Nicholas Bowers, 30, who lived just outside of Akron, Ohio.
The messages became sexual, and one day Ford received an email showing Bowers masturbating.
Ford turned over the emails, chat logs and the video to Toronto police, who then contacted authorities in Akron.
Bowers was arrested on Jan. 14, and the joint investigation uncovered that Bowers was involved in a child pornography ring.
Bowers was charged with several child pornography charges a month later, and Ford was called to Ohio to testify against the man who was trying to contact his daughter.
Bowers pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 22 years in jail last week.
"Parents can be empowered and can watch out for their kids. It's simple steps that they can do that'll make sure that their kids are safe online," Ford said.