Sumner County teen gets high praise for reporting alleged stalker

Child advocates are crediting a Hendersonville teen for how she handled an alleged stalker this week. Michael Warrick reports.
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Child advocates are crediting a Hendersonville teen for how she handled an alleged stalker this week.

The man, Jose Lopez, is accused of blowing kisses and trying to pass a note to the girl while she waited for her school bus.

Police say the middle schooler got Lopez’s license plate and reported it to police. She told investigators Lopez drove by her bus stop on three different days.

“Amazing, what a brave individual, and kudos to her family and all the folks who reported it,” Dawn Harper, CEO of Nashville Children’s Alliance, said.

The Nashville Children’s Alliance teaches adults things they can do to prevent child sex abuse and intervene if abuse is suspected. They provide therapy sessions to children and adults and conduct forensic interviews with victims of abuse and children who’ve witnessed violence.

In Harper’s experience, stalking can be used as a tactic to groom a child.

She’s proud of the Hendersonville teen for acting on her eerie feeling and telling an adult.

“Absolutely commend this child for being brave enough to talk about it with an adult,” Harper said. “A lot of times we say if you see something, say something, and this is exactly what advocates throughout the nation really want our children and young adults to be able to do.”

For parents, some warning signs of stalking can be if your child tells you an adult showed up at their location that the adult wouldn’t have any reason to know the child would be there.

A big red flag is someone asking a child for social media information or passwords.

In today’s digital age, Harper warns cases of cyberstalking are happening more.

“It is so important that parents know what their children are doing on social media,” Harper said. “Who they’re talking to, who they’re showing photos with.”

For information about the Nashville Children’s Alliance, click here.