Brooklyn Man Charged with Production of Child Pornography
Defendant Allegedly Targeted Minors via Skype and Convinced Them to Send Him Sexually Explicit Photos and Videos of Themselves
A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Steven Labianca with the sexual exploitation of children. The charges relate to sexually explicit images and videos of children that the defendant requested and received from minors that he targeted on Skype. Labianca was arrested this morning and will make his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the charges.
“As alleged, Labianca preyed on minors online, developing a relationship with them first, then exploiting them by enticing the victims to take sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves for the defendant’s own personal gratification,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Today’s arrest underscores the importance of monitoring our children’s Internet activity and teaching them to say ‘no’ to inappropriate requests in the real world and online. Fighting child exploitation is a priority for the Department of Justice and this Office will continue to make every effort to ensure that those who contribute to the victimization of children will be brought to justice.”
“The behavior in which we allege Mr. Labianca engaged - soliciting and receiving sexually-explicit images and videos from children as young as 13 - is depraved, and it underscores the dangers children may face online,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll. “The action we've taken today will ensure Mr. Labianca faces justice for his crimes, but our investigation continues. We implore anyone who may have information about this case to call as at 1-800-CALL-FBI or reach us online at tips.fbi.gov.”
As set forth in court filings, Labianca was using a Skype account with the account name “Original Geek” and an Instagram account with the account name “haulsropefasterr.” Between April 2017 and February 2021, Labianca allegedly engaged in a series of sexually explicit Skype communications with at least eight underage victims, ages 13 to 17, who lived within the United States and abroad. Labianca directed the victims to perform sexual acts while participating in the video calls. Labianca also directed the children to take nude photos and videos of themselves and send them to him. Several victims did in fact send sexually explicit photos and videos to Labianca.
If convicted of sexual exploitation of a child, Labianca faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment. The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This prosecution is 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorney Olatokunbo Olaniyan is in charge of the prosecution.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-MJ-386