AUBURN – Authorities say a northeastern Indiana tattoo artist used his skills to entice sex or nude photos from teenage girls and coerced money from some of them.
Jason Schwartz, 29, of Butler, pleaded not guilty this week to felony charges that include child molesting and possession of child pornography, along with misdemeanor counts of illegally tattooing minors. A DeKalb County judge has ordered Schwartz to be jailed without bond.
Authorities say the case involves 11 girls between 13 and 15 years old.
Court documents say Schwartz pursued the girls between March and June, when he was first arrested on sexual misconduct charges.
DeKalb County Prosecutor ClaraMary Winebrenner told The Star of Auburn that Schwartz followed a pattern.
“I don't think you can adequately understand the truth of the situation unless you look at all of the evidence regarding all of the victims together,” Winebrenner said.
Schwartz's defense attorney, Hugh Taylor, didn't return a message seeking comment Friday.
Court documents say that some girls who gave nude photos to Schwartz told investigators he later threatened to post those pictures online unless they gave him money or sex.
DeKalb County Sheriff's Detective Adam Friedel said Schwartz's Facebook page shows an overwhelming majority of his friends were adolescent girls. The detective also reported finding several text messages on Schwartz's cellphone between him and a 14-year-old girl.