Jasmin Merdan / Moment

USA Today deleted tweets following public backlash to its article attempting to normalize abnormal adult attraction to children.

The article, titled "What the public keeps getting wrong about pedophilia," was quickly moved behind a paywall.

The writer quoted researchers who claimed there's a difference between pedophiles who harm children and people who only think about it.

The writer claimed scientific studies found "pedophilia is determined in the womb, though environmental factors may influence whether someone acts on an urge to abuse."

"Not all people who sexually abuse children are pedophiles. Some pedophiles never abuse children, experts say, and some people who sexually abuse children do not sexually prefer them, but use them as a surrogate for an adult partner. They may be disinhibited and anti-social, with impulse control problems."

NurPhoto via Getty Images

"The evidence suggests it is inborn. It's neurological," said James Cantor, a clinical psychologist and sex researcher. "Pedophilia is the attraction to children, regardless of whether the (person) ever ... harms."

Cantor said there's no treatment for pedophilia, but pedophiles can be taught self-control and strategies to compensate, which he said is more likely if they're under the care of a professional.

"There are the people who are sexually attracted to children ... (and then) there are some people who molest kids who are not pedophiles," said Anna Salter, a psychologist, author, and internationally recognized expert. "They molest kids because of anger. They molest kids because they're scared of adult women. They molest kids to get revenge, but they don't actually have an age preference for prepubescent children."

After deleting the tweets, USA Today explained:

"A previous thread did not include all information and the story it was written about is behind a paywall. We made the decision to delete the thread."

Photo may have been deleted

YouTube/NYPD

Dolores Diaz Lopez sprang into action after a man snatched her 5-year-old son off a New York City street.

The NYPD released surveillance footage of the failed abduction attempt.

The child was running steps ahead of his mother and siblings when a man sitting in a nearby car snatched him and threw him into the backseat.

Lopez tried to grab her son as she and her children ran to the car and tried to ppen the door. and pulled her son through the open window as the suspect attempted to drive off with the boy.

Photo may have been deleted

NYPD

On Friday, police arrested James McGonagle, 24, of Queens, the NYPD tells PEOPLE in an email.

He is charged with attempted kidnapping, reckless endangerment, and acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17, the NYPD says.

Police say an unidentified man in the passenger seat is still at large. He is described as a white middle-aged man with a bald head.

Lopez, 45, told ABC 7 Eyewitness News she was on her way to visit her husband at work with her children when McGonagle tried to abduct her son, Jacob.

"I said, 'Oh my God my kids, oh my God my boy,'" Diaz Lopez told ABC7.

She said the car door was locked when she tried to open it.

But her son stood up in the car, enabling her to yank him out of the window to safety, she told ABC7.

McGonagle and the other suspect sped off before she could look at the license plate number.

Lopez said she was prepared to take quick action to save her son.

"You have to do what's necessary, no matter what," she told ABC 7. "The car was just parked there. I would never have imagined that a man would get out of the car and grab my son."
 

Prince Williams/Filmmagic

Actor Kyle Massey is facing charges of sending explicit material to an underage girl who he has known since she was 4 years old.

Massey, 29, is accused of electronically sending sexually explicit videos and images to a 13-year-old girl in December 2018 and January 2019.

The former child star is best known for playing Cory Baxter on Disney's "That's So Raven" and "Cory in the House."

According to legal documents, obtained by TMZ, Massey is charged with one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

The case is connected to a civil suit filed against Massey in March 2019 for $1.5 million for allegedly sending "numerous sexually explicit text messages, images, and videos" via Snapchat.

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Massey claimed he was being extorted for money by the girl's family in 2019.

At the time, Massey's mother said her son sent the explicit material to the girl's mother, not the girl.

The girl's legal team initially opted for the civil suit against Massey, but according to new documents, obtained by TMZ, the case was dropped because Massey didn't have the money to make the case worth it.

The girl's mother then reported the allegations to the Sheriff's Office in 2020.

According to TMZ, police were given a thumb drive containing the explicit material Massey allegedly sent the girl via Snapchat. The material included a pornographic video of a man who appears to be Massey exposing himself.

Massey was scheduled to appear at his arraignment Monday in King County Criminal Court in Washington, but he failed to show.

FayesVision/WENN.com

Actor Drake Bell pleaded guilty to one count of attempted child endangerment involving a minor girl in Ohio.

The former child actor and singer appeared via Zoom at the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in Cleveland on Wednesday.

Fox 8 News previously reported that the victim, now 15, accused Bell of inappropriate conduct that took place in Cleveland on Dec. 1, 2017. The victim filed a police report in December 2018.

Fox 8 Cleveland reports that Bell engaged the minor girl in an inappropriate chat that "at times, was sexual in nature."

Brian To/WENN.com

Bell, real name Jared Drake Bell, pleaded guilty to one count of disseminating material harmful to juveniles, a 4th degree felony. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 6 to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Judge Timothy McCormick informed Bell that prison time is not mandatory but if he is sentenced to prison time he'd be subjected to three years of probation.

The Nickelodeon star was arrested on June 3 in Cleveland. He posted a $2,500 bond and was released from the Cuyahoga County Jail.

"All facts will be revealed in a courtroom," Bell's attorney Ian Friedman said on June 4 -- which likely explains why Bell copped a plea to avoid a trial.

Child molestation victims took to social media to complain that Bell was being handled with kid gloves (no pun intended) because he is a celebrity.

Bell's sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 12.

Bell, left, is pictured with actor/comedian Josh Peck, right, at Nickelodeon's 18th Annual Kids Choice Awards in 2005.

Nikki Nelson / WENN


 

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the victim was a boy.

Photo may have been deleted

Instagram

A boy who is seen being abused in a viral video on social media has been placed in the custody of the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS).

In the video, the boy is verbally and physically abused by family members, including his own mother, because he has feminine tendencies.

The video shows the word "gay" shaved into the side of the child's head.

Atlanta police said the video was shared thousands of times on social media before someone notified the authorities.

A number of Atlanta residents helped police locate the boy, named Tyler.

"The behavior in this social media post was difficult to watch and is absolutely unacceptable," a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department said.

A GoFundMe account was created by Hope Giselle, a local LGBT rights activist, and Devin Barrington-Ward, who is running for Atlanta City Council.

"Tyler is now free from the traumatic experience of dealing and engaging with his biological family and is in the hands of the Atlanta DFACS," a statement on the GFM page reads.

"We've all had the chance to witness the story of Tyler. A boy whose viral video of public humiliation based on his sexuality inflicted by his family has rocks both the LGBT and the black community via social media for the last two days. Community activist, celebrities, and organizers of all kinds have gathered together to ensure that Tyler is no longer is an occupant of the violent home featured in the video however, the story does not stop there."

 

D Dipasupil/Getty Images

Josh Duggar, 3rd from left, made his first court appearance on Friday morning following his arrest by federal agents in Arkansas on Thursday.

Duggar, 33, appeared before the judge at the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court from jail via Zoom on Friday, where he entered a plea of not guilty on all counts.

The father-of-7 declined to have his charges read in open court.

However, TMZ reports he was hit with charges of receiving and possessing child pornography, including images of minors below the age of 12.

According to the legal documents, the "19 Kids and Counting" star knowingly received child p0rn in mid-May 2019. The charges follow a federal raid by Homeland Security agents on his now-shuttered car dealership in 2019.

His next court hearing is set for next week to determine if Duggar will be granted bond. He will remain in custody until then.

If bond is granted, Duggar will be required to stay with a third-party custodian, and that person can't have unsupervised minors in the home.

D Dipasupil/Getty Images

If convicted, Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.00 on each count.

This isn't Duggar's first brush with the law. Duggar's father, Jim Bob Duggar (pictured far right), reported then-14-year-old Josh to police after he allegedly molested 5 minors. It isn't clear if the victims included some of his 18 siblings.

His trial is scheduled for July.

Photo may have been deleted

Chesterfield County PD

Two male cheerleaders linked to Netflix's "Cheer" have been arrested on charges of sexual misconduct with minors.

Robert Joseph Scianna Jr., 25, and Mitchell Ryan, 23, were both arrested on Wednesday.

Scianna, a choreographer and cheer coach, was arrested in Virginia, and charged with felony taking indecent liberties with a child and using an electronic communication device to solicit sex, the Chesterfield County Police Department said, according to WRIC-TV.

Scianna allegedly solicited sex from a minor on social media. He is being held in the Chesterfield County Jail without bond, WRIC reports.

Ryan, a college cheerleader, was arrested in Texas, and charged with felony aggravated sexual assault of a child related to a July incident, according to the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.

Jim Spellman/Getty Images

The arrests come after "Cheer" star Jerry Harris was charged with multiple counts of federal child pornography and sex crimes in September.

Harris and Ryan were on the Navarro College cheer team, which was featured on the reality TV series, but Ryan did not appear on the show, People reports.

Ryan posted his $50,000 bond and was released Friday morning, according to People magazine.

Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Jerry Harris, one of the stars of Netflix's "Cheer" is under investigation by the FBI for allegedly soliciting sex from minors.

FBI agents executed a search warrant at Harris' Naperville, Illinois home on Sept. 14, USA Today reported.

The criminal investigation is based on allegations from twin brothers who described a pattern of harassment by Harris, 22.

In interviews with USA Today, the boys say Harris solicited nude photos from them. The harassment started when they were 13 and Harris was 19.

The boys met Harris at cheerleading competitions and the harassment continued for more than a year.

Harris is accused of asking one of the brothers to perform an inappropriate act in 2019 at two Varsity cheerleading competitions.

The allegations were reported to police by Varsity Brands, a private company that handles uniform sales to major competitions and dominates the cheerleading industry.

"As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future," wrote Varsity's Chief Legal Officer Burton Brillhart in letters to police in Florida and Texas.

Two screenshots were included in the letter, with one Snapchat screenshot message that read: "Would you ever want to ****."

Another screenshot of a series of text messages starting on May 3, 2019: "Hey btw I found a place for us to do stuff it's actually pretty good haha".

Harris has not been charged with any crimes. The federal investigation is ongoing.