DEAR ABBY: My brother recently discovered that his 16-year-old stepdaughter has been chatting online with a man in another state, up to and including phone sex. He went into her e-mail without her permission to see what was going on after she ran up a $300 phone bill.
When he confronted her about the bill, she lied and said she had been talking to a girlfriend. Her mother -- my brother's wife -- thinks her daughter would never do anything wrong and gets mad at my brother if he implies otherwise. He doesn't want to do anything about the situation for fear of her wrath.
I say, the girl's safety is more important than a fight with his wife. Do you know if there's a task force that he could e-mail this information to and remain anonymous? I would like to see that man caught before something horrible happens to this beautiful young girl. -- PROTECTIVE IN COLORADO
DEAR PROTECTIVE: The girl has been victimized by a predator. Your brother's wife is doing her daughter no good by behaving like an ostrich and pretending this incident never happened.
There are several things your brother can do. He should contact his local FBI office and/or visit the Web site � HYPERLINK "http://www.fbi.gov" ��www.fbi.gov� and check out the area devoted to cyber crimes -- specifically crimes against children under "What We Investigate." If he is referred to his local police department, he should contact them immediately so they can investigate further. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also has an informative Web site, � HYPERLINK "http://www.missingkids.com" ��www.missingkids.com�, which provides information regarding exploited children and an opportunity to report it.