A suburban man has been charged with sexually abusing a child he met on a social media app, authorities said Friday.
Steve W. Spoerl, of the 24700 block of West Townline Road in unincorporated Round Lake, was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of child pornography, all felonies, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office.
Detectives investigating Spoerl, 53, discovered that he was active on the ‘Whisper’ app, using it to begin a conversation with an underage girl, the sheriff’s office said in a release.
Authorities said Spoerl made arrangements to meet the girl, picked her up near her home and drove her to a hotel in Waukegan, where he engaged in sexual conduct with her.
During the investigation, detectives also found nude images of the girl on Spoerl’s telephone, according to the sheriff’s office.
He remains held in the Lake County Jail on $1 million bond, officials said.
"Children today are growing up in a digital age, and they are more connected with technology than ever before," Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said in a statement.
"It is essential parents monitor all social media applications on your children’s electronic devices," he added. "Online predators use these applications to prowl on children."
Anyone with information about Spoerl is asked to contact the Lake County sheriff’s office at (847) 377-4250.