MIAA warns schools, athletes of suspicious Facebook invites - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

MIAA warns schools, athletes of suspicious Facebook invites

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FRANKLIN, Mass. (WHDH) - Massachusetts high schools and students athletes have been warned about a man luring kids into an underground fight club.

State police are investigating a man they believe is targeting high school boys to meet and wrestle.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association sent out a warning to schools that a person is contacting local athletes on Facebook. It stated "he is offering local student-athletes money to compete in an underground wrestling club that is held in local hotels.” The full MIAA statement can be found at the bottom of this article.

"I think it's terrible. I think that social media is good for people to communicate and connect with people, but when you abuse it and try to entice people or bring people to you for bad things, it's not worth it,” Dan Witkowski, a parent, said.

The MIAA said the person has been contacting local male student athletes for at least two years, and it may not be exclusive to wrestling.

Students said they heard about it through social media.

"I'm pretty surprised by it honestly that someone would really reach out to high school kids over everyone,” Russel Sully, a student, said.

Parents just hope the man is caught.

“They should, I don't know try and track him down. The police should be able to find somebody like that,” Witkowski said.

The State Police Internet Crimes Against Children task force is now involved in the investigation as well.

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014 the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association released the following statement:

In an effort to ensure the safety of our students, we wanted to pass along some critical information regarding a person trying to contact local athletes on Facebook. The person goes by “Manny Whelan” on Facebook, and he is offering local student-athletes money to “compete” in an “underground wrestling club” that is held in local hotels. It has come to our attention that this person has been contacting local male student-athletes for at least two years. This may not be exclusive to wrestling, so please inform ALL of your coaches, parents, and students.

If you have any information regarding this, please contact your local resource officer. If one is not available, contact the Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at 978-451-3550.

For additional information, please visit the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s website here.
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