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Press Release

Ohio Man Charged with Posing as Teen, Receiving Sexually Explicit Videos from Minor, Posting on TikTok

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment today charging BRIAN GRINNELL, 35, of Lakewood, Ohio, with distribution of child pornography.

As alleged in court documents, in March 2020, Grinnell posed as a 15-year-old girl and met a female, who at the time was under the age of 12, on Omegle, an online chat website and mobile application that allows users to interact with strangers.  Shortly thereafter, he began communicating with the minor victim using the account name “alexisswimmer99” on Snapchat.  Grinnell told the minor victim to take sexually explicit photos and videos of herself and send them to Grinnell over Snapchat.  After the minor victim began to feel threatened by alexisswimmer99, she unfriended and blocked the alexisswimmer99 account.

It is further alleged that Grinnell, under the username “alexisswimmer9,” subsequently contacted a friend of the minor victim on TikTok and stated that unless the minor victim got in touch with him, he would post a video of the minor victim naked on TikTok.  Grinnell then posted sexually explicit videos of the minor victim on TikTok.  When a friend of the minor victim, who is also a minor, begged Grinnell not to post additional videos of the minor victim, Grinnell stated “I want a video of you begging me to not put them up. And you have to be topless in the video. If you don’t want any more of your friend stuff going out.”  After the friend told Grinnell that they would call the police, Grinnell responded “How are they gonna find me?”

It is alleged that Grinnell then proceeded to post another video of the minor victim on TikTok.

Grinnell has been detained since his arrest on a criminal complaint on September 23, 2020.

If convicted of the charge of distribution of child pornography, Grinnell faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Canaan Police Department, with assistance from the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Prosecutor’s Office and Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara E. Levens and Sarala V. Nagala.

Updated October 5, 2020

Project Safe Childhood