Friday, July 22, 2016


An earlier article related how the highly popular and trending mobile app “Pokémon Go” accidentally helped prevent crimes on several occasions by leading its players to locations of crimes in progress where they could then alert authorities. This Tuesday July 19 the efficacy of mobile apps and social networking as a crime-fighting tool was demonstrated by one formerly “in-thing” phone app that has been eclipsed by Nintendo-Niantic’s mobile juggernaut: Snapchat. Only in this case, it was the use of Snapchat that was documented and presented as evidence that brought about the conviction of two people, a man and a woman, for an act of sexual assault.

The Boston Globe reports that two residents of Saugus, Massachusetts were found guilty of kidnapping, intent to rape, and indecent assault and battery of a person over 14 this Tuesday July 19. 21-year old Rashad Deihim and 20-year old Kaylin Bonia were stone-faced as the jury foreman read the verdicts at the Essex Superior Court in Salem. Two years ago in 2014, the two of them had attacked a 16- year old girl behind a Saugus elementary school. After abusing their victim, Rashad posed the girl nude, while an accessory, Tim Cykowski, made the mistake of recording the whole act on the Snapchat messaging system.

This was where Snapchat saved the day, sort of. The recorded videos were seen on the system by an acquaintance of both the perpetrators and the victim. Syndee Enos then took pictures of the images on Snapchat before the messaging system could purge it, then she and her mother went to the authorities with the incriminating screenshots.

Essex District Attorney’s Office communications director Carrie Kimball Monahan related that when police found the victim (unnamed as she was under 18 when the crime took place), she was so intoxicated and high from both alcohol and narcotics that officers described her as being mere hours from dying to system shock, and had to be administered a double dose of anti-opiate medication. As it was, if not for the quick intervention brought about by the sexual assault being carried on Snapchat, a search party would have found the victim too late.

Enos and her mother along with the victim – now 18 – all testified in the ensuing trial of Deihim, Bonia and Cykowski, who immediately pleaded guilty for his part in the molestation while Rashad Deihim received an additional charge for pornography in posing the victim nude. The video contents and photographs were presented as official evidence for the prosecution.

A Superior Court will hand down sentences for both Deihim and Bonia on September 6, 2016.

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