News reports surfaced Friday about Ringo Garza, the drummer for the Grammy award-winning “Texican” rock band Los Lonely Boys. San Angelo Police, in TX, are reportedly investigating 35-year-old Garza for possession of child porn.

Multiple news reports state that it was Garza’s wife, Lenora, who called police on July 22. Based on cookie-cutter accounts by KIDY-TV (FOX), KVUE, and WFAA, Garza’s wife was informed by a 13-year-old girl on July 21 that Garza took screenshots of her bare breasts. The teen and the drummer were allegedly FacingTiming when the girl claims she heard the sound of screenshots.

Creepy accusations lead police to execute search warrant

Approximately three months before the screenshot sound, police contend that the teen was in the shower when Garza allegedly FaceTimed her, asking her to show him her naked body. Creepy, yes. Even creepier, however, is that the teen told police she also showered with the husband and wife sometime in June.

To put it mildly, law enforcement summed the behavior as “suggestive of sexual abuse,” as well as “highly inappropriate.” You think? Based on information that was relayed to police, authorities obtained and executed a search warrant. They were given the impression that Garza possessed child pornography.

Accusations but no charges and no arrest

Officers executed their search warrant on July 24 and they seized an estimated two dozen electronic devices that have the capability to store images. According to Officer Tracy Gonzalez, San Angelo PD, there is an ongoing investigation. If the electronic items contain child porn, Garza will be charged accordingly.

So far, though, he has not been charged or arrested.

Social media identified reported minor-age victim

The problem with reporting accusations at this time is that only took one source of news to cite the teen’s initials and almost instantaneously social media was privy to the alleged victim’s identity. Making the accusations public when the reported victim is still minor-aged should have entailed a much greater level of sensitivity, with a keen eye on details set for disclosure and public consumption.

The amount of information that is readily available, and at nearly everyone’s fingertips these days, should come as no surprise to anyone, not even the police department. When people on social media, such as Facebook, started responding to reports by news agencies, it also didn’t take long for people to react with many stating that the news wasn’t adding up, making much sense, or that something is “fishy.”

Release of reported accusations raises questions

People on Facebook have mentioned that Garza’s wife showered, as well, with the victim and that his wife also may have had access to the electronic devices. What? No accusations or charges pending against her? No investigation into her behavior with the teen?

Those are some questions that people have and that are lingering since the disclosure of the accusations against Ringo Garza.

Police and news failed to shield victim from identification

Not only was the teen identified as a result of the reports, news agencies also posted pages of the actual police report. We are living in a tech-savvy age with people who fully understand digital information. After reading about screenshots, people make screenshots – and, some, of the report itself. Though not easy, it is not impossible to read the words in the actual report.

Before the report was given to media, information should have been redacted, covered with a censor bar, or pixelated. The victim’s initials should not have been cited anywhere for the public to see.

She is a 13-year-old girl, after all. She is likely coping with ample issues as it stands.

Regardless of how the accusations may turn out for Garza and his wife, the victim should have been a priority in everyone’s mind before the release of the report based on accusations. It also should have been someone’s responsibility to verify that any data available to the public did not also present the teen’s name. Idea: Check county court records. The victim’s name is glaring.

Was it really worth it to release the report prior to any arrest or any charges? Equally as important: How will everyone feel if there is no evidence of child porn found on any electronic item that the accused used and that his wife did not access?

The accusations were leveled in July. It’s now nearly November. Let’s hope that if no charges are brought against Garza that future news reports will also reflect that fact as willingly as the allegations were relayed.

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