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Feds: Indiana man blackmailed teens into online sex

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Saturday, April 6, 2013 - 7:31 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — A northwest Indiana man blackmailed a 16-year-old New York girl into performing sex acts for him during a video chat by telling her another man had hacked into her iPad and taken video of her dressing in her room, federal court records say.

A federal judge in South Bend on Thursday sentenced Brian Newman, 46, of Michigan City, to three years in federal prison and 20 years of supervised release under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Newman was originally charged with six counts of sex-related crimes but those were reduced to one under the agreement.

Under terms of the plea agreement, Newman pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual exploitation of a child. A message seeking comment from Newman's public defender, H. Jay Stevens, was left Saturday by The Associated Press.

The New York girl was one of several teenage girls from multiple states, including a 13-year-old from Minnesota, who investigators believe Newman blackmailed into posing nude or performing masochistic sex acts during video chats, according to documents filed in federal court for northern Indiana.

The investigation began in October 2011 when a 15-year-old North Carolina girl told police she had been coerced into performing online sex acts by a man who had somehow obtained nude photos of her and threatened to show them to her family if she did not perform masochistic sex acts on video for him. When the girl began to cry, the man threatened to rape her, court documents said.

The girls in New York and Minnesota were victims of similar schemes, court records said. The man promised to give the 13-year-old $10,000 if she would pose nude for him, then tried to use the photos to coerce her into sex acts, but she ended the contact, the records said.

Investigators traced the contacts with the girls to an email account and then a laptop belonging to Newman. When they searched Newman's computer, records said investigators found sexually explicit images of the 16-year-old New York girl.

The case is an example of "sextortion," a crime in which Internet predators catch victims in embarrassing situations online and threaten to expose them unless they create sexually explicit photos or videos. Investigators say the crime is becoming increasingly common.