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10-year-old victimized through Xbox

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A 10-year-old Folsom boy who was enticed by $20 worth of free Xbox Live credits, told his parents recently he had sent nude photographs of himself to a man he met online. Folsom Police investigators confirmed the man’s identity as Timothy Wayne Hammerstone, 22, of Polk City Florida. The relationship between Hammerstone and the victim began in December 2009 after they met through his internet connected Xbox gaming system while playing a military simulation game. Hammerstone recruited the juvenile to his “clan,” or team, and then began making inappropriate requests. Hammerstone’s reach extended into the victim’s Folsom group of friends who play the same game, and lasted until July 2010. Hammerstone even went as far as setting up new accounts for the victim and at least one friend in order to avoid detection by the children’s’ parents. Based on the Folsom investigation, Polk County Sheriff’s detectives searched Hammerstone’s home yesterday and located numerous images of child pornography depicting several different children. He was arrested and booked into the Polk County jail on 16 counts of possession child pornography. Folsom Police Detective Andrew Bates said parents need to be made aware that internet connected gaming systems such as Xbox and PlayStation pose the same threats as an internet connected computer or telephone. These game systems allow the users to speak to one another, send text messages and transfer photographs as well as live video feeds. Devices such as these pose a serious threat to the safety of children unless they are closely monitored by an adult. ~Staff report