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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Ohio Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Coercing Minor to Send Him Sexually Explicit Videos, Posting Them on TikTok

Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that BRIAN GRINNELL, 36, of Lakewood, Ohio, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 121 months of imprisonment, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for posing as a teenage girl on social media, coercing a minor female to send him sexually explicit photos and videos of herself, and, after threatening the victim, posting some of those videos on TikTok.

According to court documents and statements made in court, 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 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 Grinnell, she unfriended and blocked Grinnell’s account.

Grinnell subsequently contacted friends 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?”  Grinnell then proceeded to post another video of the minor victim on TikTok.

Grinnell subsequently shared additional videos of the minor victim with undercover officers, and bragged about how many videos he had and how easy it would be for him to get more videos from other minors.

Investigators arrested Grinnell on September 23, 2020, and seized his iPhone and other items.  Analysis of the iPhone revealed numerous images and videos of child pornography.

Grinnell has been detained since his arrest on September 23, 2020.  On April 19, 2021, he pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography.

Judge Shea ordered Grinnell to pay a $10,000 special assessment.

This investigation was 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 was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara E. Levens through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated December 14, 2021