Online Gaming Marriage Leads To Real-World Criminal Charges

A 54-year-old Massachusetts man is in police custody in Detroit after allegedly initiating multiple sexual encounters with his virtual bride - a 13-year-old girl he married in the online role-playing game Runescape.

Free-to-play online role-playing game Runescape is home to a close-knit group of devoted players who spend countless hours battling and socialising in the virtual realm. Sometimes a pair of players grows so close they decide to hold a virtual marriage. Sometimes these virtual nuptials are taken too far.

According to Detroit police, John W. Phillips, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts first met his 13-year-old virtual wife through Runescape, where the pair spent a great deal of time chatting back and forth. Authorities say the man attempted to mail the young girl a mobile phone so the two could communicate outside of the game. When the attempted mailing failed, Phillips travelled to Detroit in February of last year to deliver the phone personally.

Phillips allegedly had sex with the teenager multiple times, once in a hotel, once in his van, and once in her own home.

There girl's mother, who worked multiple jobs and wasn't home often, contacted police after finding her daughter exchanging texts with someone using a mobile phone she was not supposed to have. An investigation was launched.

Police say Phillips eluded capture by hiding at his father's house in upstate New York, dying his hair and growing out his beard to throw the authorities off his scent. Phillips was eventually captured with the help of Michigan State Police, Wayne County Prosecutors, federal prosecutors and US Secret Service agents.

Williams is currently in police custody, with a pretrial hearing scheduled for Thursday. He is charged with 11 felonies, including sexually abusive behaviour, sexual assault and accosting a child for immoral purposes. He faces four to 20 years in prison.

"It is easy for children to be contacted in nontraditional ways," (Michigan State Police Lt. Tom) Kish said. "Internet use has to be monitored."

Man accused of having sex with Detroit girl he wed in video game [The Detroit News]


Comments

    EW.

    The amount of times something like this has happened through this game is ridiculous. Too many lonely adults play this game.

      That is how you get marrige and sexy pepole.

    Nothing out of the ordinary here.

    Obviously Runescape must be banned, it's nothing but a sex offender's chat room. /sarcasm

    But really, I thought it was taking place in the game until I went after the bump.

      Thought exactly the same way. I'd expect sensationalist "VIDEO GAMES CAUSE MURDERS/RAPES" writing from regular news sources, but not Kotaku :|

      Reminds me of this article-

      http://www.cracked.com/article_18982_5-terrifying-online-trends-invented-by-news-media.html

    So it took Michigan State Police, Wayne County Prosecutors, federal prosecutors and US Secret Service agents to catch him after he dyed his hair and grew a beard?

    If only he took the number off the house, he would be still at large.

      That's why they haven't caught bin Laden yet - he's gone blonde.

    HOLY CRAP RUNESCAPE AS TOP HATS NOW?

    whatta sick person, again this blight can be fixed with a bullet, shame we dont do that.

    What a noob, i never got caught fucking any of the kids i found. Just enter there state, and gtfo.

      wat

    I know the Runescape Name of the 54 year old man. His RSN is Britneybbz13 and his IRC nickname is [CT]zzzach

    Join Control. 60+ stat reqs. Accepting all zerkers and mains. Takas gay

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