Fresno Man Charged with Sexual Exploitation of Children Through Musical.Ly, Kik, and other Apps
FRESNO, Calif. — On Thursday, a federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment against Jacob Eric Blanco, 25, of Fresno, charging him with five counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of distributing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Blanco is alleged to have used apps on his phone and computer, including Musical.ly and KIK, to target and communicate with girls under the age of 12 for the purpose of having the girls create and transmit images of themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Blanco came to the attention of law enforcement after the parents of a six-year-old girl in Nassau County, New York stated to local police that someone using the app Musical.ly, alleged to be Blanco, had solicited sexually explicit images of the girl. Investigators are actively attempting to identify additional victims.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gappa is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Blanco faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison for each sexual exploitation count and 5–20 years in prison for the one count of distribution of child pornography. For all counts there is a potential $250,000 fine and lifetime supervised release. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet safety education.