Teacher allegedly used Kik to send explicit messages

Bartow, Florida – The firing of a Compass Charter School teacher has prompted a renewed warning about the popular social app Kik Messenger.

Robert Walrath is accused of sending sexually explicit messages to a fifth grade student via the app.

"On at least one of the text messages he sent her was sexually provocative telling her what she could do with part of his anatomy," said Dave Wyant with the Bartow Police Department.

Kik Messenger acts like any other typical messaging software like on a smartphone, but the difference is that it does not need to be connected to a cell phone service provider.

It means that it can be accessed simply by connecting to WiFi.

"It's just quicker than texting. You just get it automatically like a messenger," said Kiala Sickler.

The middle school student said she used the program religiously to communicate with friends. While she keeps contact with only her group of friends of the app, other people can send her messages.

"How bad can it get?" asked 10 News reporter Andre Senior.

"Like, they'll send you pictures of..." she said, too embarrassed to mention the explicit photos that have been sent to her in the past.

The Bartow Police Department said that it connected Walrath with the messages because a photograph of his face is listed next to each one.

It is not clear how the teacher reportedly connected with the student on the Kik Messenger website, but a teen we talked with said that there is one flaw in the app that should be fixed.

"Because random people can message you," said Sickler.

The State Attorney's Office is still deciding whether to charge Walrath with a crime.


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