Teen athletes targeted in possible 'spoofing' case

February 25, 2010 4:18:45 PM PST
A criminal investigation is underway against a local newspaper reporter. Investigators say he impersonated athletes on the Internet -- the same athletes he had once written stories about when they were in high school. It was covering football at Katy High School that authorities say a sports reporter for the Katy Times got to know two Katy High School football players and allegedly took that professional relationship further by posing as the athletes he once interviewed.

Chief Craig Brady with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said, "The individual that was impersonating the two young football players was requesting nude and semi-nude photographs of women primarily from age 16 to 30."

The sports reporter for the Katy Times was fired last Thursday. We will not identify the man because he has not been charged with any crime or arrested. Authorities last Thursday searched the newspaper offices confiscating computer records of the suspect.

The parent company of the Katy Times issued a statement: "This is a sad situation and is shocking. He had some personal issues we didn't know about. It's extremely sad and unfortunate."

The former Katy athletes are Trent Hunter and Aundre Dean. Hunter now plays for A&M. The university late this afternoon confirmed there was an informal complaint of a woman alleging Hunter was harassing her. Authorities say Hunter and Dean were victimized as well. The suspect was allegedly using their names to solicit inappropriate messages.

"Very sexual type conversations about exactly what he'd like to do with them, things like that," Chief Brady said. "Of course he was portraying himself as being one of those football players and it didn't portray them in a very positive light."

The incident is being investigated under the state's new 'spoofing' statute, which makes it illegal to impersonate or use a fake identity online. Spoofing is a Class A misdemeanor, but Chief Brady says the crime could be upgraded to Internet impersonation, which is a third degree felony.