25-year-old allegedly found in bed with 12-year-old; local experts warn parents

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A 25-year-old man faces a child molestation charge after he was allegedly found with a 12-year-old girl.

A South Bend mother reportedly came home and found her daughter asleep in bed with 25-year-old Preston Michael Craw.

The mother found the two in her bed partially undressed at about 6 a.m. last Friday, according to court documents. Craw got dressed and tried to leave but couldn't get his vehicle to start. Meanwhile, the mother called police.

Craw told police he believed the girl was 15 years old, but the girl admitted in an interview that they had met on Tinder and that they had both been aware of each other’s ages.

Craw was released from the St. Joseph County Jail on bond as he awaits his next court hearing.

“With the proliferation of dating apps, it's not that there's one or two particular apps that you want to be looking for to monitor on kids' phones. It could come from any source,” St. Joseph County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Tamashasky said.

A local psychotherapist says you should have a serious talk with your child before introducing them to the internet.

“Make sure that the child knows that anyone who is older, anyone who's sort of a stranger, anyone who contacts them out of the blue and says complimentary things right off the bat without knowing them, that's an indication that that person might not be safe,” Dr. Erin Leonard said.

She advises gaining your child's trust, honoring their feelings and empathizing with them, then helping problem-solve. Also, know what signs to look for.

“If you see a child isolating themselves or withdrawing or shutting down or not eating or having issues sleeping or crying or being school-avoidant, those are all symptoms that something might be going on,” Leonard added.

If you're interested in Dr. Leonard's work, you can read her blog called “Peaceful Parenting” on Psychology Today.