|Will Ripley interviewed me as part of his story that aired last night on 9 News.|
Those two boys then decided to try to get some money from Mr. Otto. They allegedly told the man they needed $10,000 apiece in order to keep from going to the police with their incriminating video. At that point, Mr. Otto allegedly grabbed a gun from his bedroom, shot and killed the two teens, drove their bodies to rural Colorado, and buried them on his family's property.
The two teenage boys made a horrible decision, and what there were attempting to do was illegal. Nevertheless, they did not deserve to die for their mistake. My heart goes out to their family and friends, who are likely struggling to make sense of the gruesome details of their deaths.
What is truly heartbreaking is that those boys should never have been put in that position in the first place. According to Will Ripley's report, neighborhood teens all knew that Mr. Otto's house was a place to hang out and drink alcohol. Additionally, a number of adults in the neighborhood also knew this was happening.
When a 43 year-old man is willingly spending time with teenagers and buying them alcohol, there is something wrong. A normal man in his 40s does not want to be friends with young kids. It is quite possible Mr. Otto was emotionally immature and sexually attracted to the kids he was inviting over to his house. His behavior is similar to the behavior of sex offenders who "groom" their victims by being nice to them and slowly crossing inappropriate boundaries one step at a time. Although the teens who were hanging out with Mr. Otto didn't realize it, they were putting themselves in an extremely dangerous situation. They were dealing with a man who was likely impulsive, immature, and unpredictable.
Here is a link to Will Ripley's story. He interviewed me as part of his investigation into the matter:
Click here to watch the video if you are reading this on a non-Flash enabled device.
Although the majority of adults who hang out with teenagers, invite them into their houses, and supply them with alcohol are not going to kill anyone, it is still extremely important to understand how dangerous those individuals might be. At best, they are emotionally immature. At worst, they are impulsive and flirting with the idea of crossing major boundaries with their teenaged "friends." As soon as parents or friends discover such a person is in their neighborhood, they should report the situation to the police. There is nothing cool about a grown man luring kids into his house with alcohol, and the authorities need to deal with that person immediately.
Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.