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Press Release

Arkansas Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Exchanging Nude Pictures with Girl

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

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on Thursday sentenced an Arkansas man who exchanged nude pictures with a minor for five years to 10 years in prison. 

Joseph D. Najera, now 26, and the victim met in 2017 via Kik Messenger when Najera sent her a friend request. The victim was 12 and told Najera her age. Najera sent the victim artwork depicting nudity, pornography and graphic violence. He had her create drawings, and his instructions about what to draw became increasingly complex and sexual. On numerous occasions, Najera told the victim to perform sex acts during video chats, and to create pornographic images and pictures. He also sent her pornographic videos. Najera exerted control over the victim, telling her she was not allowed to talk with boys at school. He had to approve her makeup, her clothes and whether she cut her hair. He also had parental controls set up on her phone to monitor her actions. They discussed meeting in person but never did.

Najera, 25, of Lincoln, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in March to one felony count of coercion and enticement of a minor.

The FBI, the St. Charles County Cyber Crime Task Force, the St. Charles County Police Department and the Montgomery City Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit


Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer,

Updated July 18, 2024

Project Safe Childhood