A Canton man allegedly befriended teenage girls who he then threatened for pornographic images, federal officials said.
Mr. Destin Whitmore, 22, was arraigned Tuesday on multiple charges that include five counts of extortion, enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity, three counts of distribution of child pornography and five counts of possession of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“This defendant preyed on teenage girls and attempted to extort them to create and send him pornographic images,” United States Attorney Mrs. Sally Quillian Yates.
“He threatened to post compromising images of the girls on the internet and to send them to their friends and family. This is a stark reminder of the need for parents to talk with their children about internet safety.”
It’s unclear how long Mr. Whitmore had allegedly been targeting teens, but it was an Arizona girl who led investigators to him.
In April 2012, the teen told police she was contacted using a popular social media website by an individual using a profile name “Ralph Jenkins,” officials said.
Investigators learned later that it was Mr. Whitmore, Mrs. Yates said.
He allegedly sent the teen compromising images of herself and threatened to send those images to others, including her family members, if she did not immediately create additional images for him.
Mr. Whitmore, who investigators said also used the name “Lenny Carlington” used mutliple social media accounts including his own, to transmit pornographic images of numerous teen girls to the girls to extort them for additional images, Mrs. Yates said.
“If they did not comply with his wishes, he threatened to distribute the pornographic images to others and post them on various websites for public consumption,” Mrs. Yates said in a news release. “Many of the girls Whitmore extorted were known to him through personal relationships or through long term communications using web cameras with the girls online.”
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