Police in Indiana, yesterday, arrested an Amish man who arrived in a horse and buggy for a presumed sexual rendezvous with a 12-year-old girl.   The suspect allegedly sent more than 600 text, picture and video messages to the local girl, including solicitations for sex and naked images of himself.

As The Examiner noted, the reactions to the arrest on Twitter have been a combination of disgust and comic delight.  The following is a sample of some of the tweets:

They know about cellphones!?!?

Not only did he embrace technology. He exchanged Weiner-esque pics with a minor. Do the Amish excommunicate people?

We can make fun of Amish people . . .cause they’ll never see this >;)

All I can say is wow Amish Man Charged in Sexting a 12-Year-Old After Driving Horse and Buggy to Police Sting

Amish man accused of sexting girl, 12. I thought phones were forbidden. Maybe they caught up with the times. Too bad.

Only one lewd text was sent, as it took the gentleman all week to whittle it out of the old elm tree out back…

Amish man arrested, accused of sexting girl, 12″ So can I just point out the all kinds of messed up going on in there?

Although I am no expert, apparently although the Amish prevalently shun technology, some communities do allow use of both landlines and cell phones in a very limited capacity. In this case, the Amish man was randomly punching in phone numbers hoping for a reply–he did not actually know the girl.  After the 12-year-old began receiving increasingly explicit messages, her parents got involved and continued to exchange messages with the suspect before contacting the authorities.  The suspect has admitted that he believed he was going to meet up with the girl to have sex with her.

I’ve spent time a little bit of time in several Amish communities, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Shipshawana, Indiana.  As I think about these people, dressed in plain, conservative attire, with women in bonnets and men in suspenders, driving simple buggies, aspiring to live collectively and distinct from the rest of the world, their life seems antithetical to the secular and highly sexualized culture the rest of us live in.

In fact, the Amish life is antithetical to secular culture, and yet, here, and with undoubted shame for their community, we are reminded that none are immune to sexual brokenness.  This is why we see kids, men, women, doctors, lawyers, priests, politicians, and pastors struggling with pornography addiction, in possession of child pornography, soliciting minors online, engaging in sex chats, or perpetrating child sexual abuse.

Often, we find that a perpetrator actually began their struggle by viewing softcore pornography.  Eventually, they need harder and harder-core content to experience the same sexual high.  As they encounter barely legal content, fetish pornography and the like, they may come across child pornography.  Their use of child pornography normalizes and fuels the desire to act out sexually with a minor.  Meanwhile, minors are growing up in a world where sex is ubiquitous and sexting has become a form of flirtation.  Without involved parents, they have easy access to pornography and strangers through the Internet and their mobile devices.  Seeking love, attention and affirmation, even straight-A students may become involved with an older man or woman seeking to exploit their sexual curiosities.

In this case, thankfully this young girl brought her parents in for help.  As Indiana Detective Craig Pennington said, “I believe that the communication between child and parent, however awkward it may have been, was crucial in stopping this behavior and culminated in a successful arrest and seizure of the suspect and his cell phone.”

For the parents reading this post, we will be covering more about privacy, sexting, predators and online strangers later this summer, but for now, remember: communication is key with your children.  Ask them to come to you whenever they encounter anything scary, explicit or inappropriate online or through their mobile device.  Don’t blame or shame them if you find they have been engaging in risky behaviors or are struggling with sexual addiction; take a few deep breaths, assess the situation and come up with an action plan to address the problem.  We also recommend using parental controls on all Internet-enabled devices and your child’s cell phones.  Consider disabling their phone from sending and receiving picture texts and keep their contact list to a parent-approved list.  If you ever believe that your child is at risk to running away with or meeting up with someone they met online, contact your local authorities immediately.

For anyone struggling with sexual addiction reading this post, know that you are not alone.  Pornography is one of the most destructive forced in our society, and over 11 million Americans struggle with sexual addiction.  We hope that you will recognize that you need help and accountability.  We don’t want you to end up going down the rabbit hole of sexual addiction and ending in illegal behavior and placing your career, family, reputation and others at risk.  Even if you have never encountered child pornography and have no intention of acting out your sexual fantasies with someone other than your spouse, at some point, pornography will have a substantial and even devastating impact on your spiritual, emotional and physical health as well as your marriage and family.  We hope you will consider getting our X3watch accountability software and completing our simple, 30-day recovery program, X3pure, to help you regain control of your life.