Former FBI Contractor Uses Popular Video Game Platform to Solicit Preteens for Child Sexual Abuse Material
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former FBI contractor pleaded guilty today to production and receipt of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
According to court documents, beginning in February, Brett Janes, 26, of Arlington, groomed a 13-year-old minor (MV1) to transition from playing Valorant with him, a popular first-person shooter game, to engaging in “strip” games on a video chat function in Discord. Although MV1 did not want to play this game, Janes employed threats of suicide, various money payments through CashApp, and flattery, until MV1 produced CSAM for him.
In addition, a search warrant revealed Janes was communicating with at least a dozen other minors. Of those minors, he convinced one 12-year-old boy to produce CSAM and attempted to entice another 14-year-old boy to produce CSAM. Janes manipulated these minors by befriending, flattering, and outright begging them for content. A review of his devices revealed he purchased hundreds of videos and images of CSAM from the internet, including graphic videos of prepubescent children being raped.
Janes pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of children and one count of receipt of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 27, 2024, and faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Nicole M. Argentieri, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema accepted the plea.
Significant assistance was provided by the Arlington County Police Department and the Galloway Township Police Department in New Jersey.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Withers and Special Assistant U.S Attorney McKenzie Hightower are prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the 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.justice.gov/psc.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:23-cr-140.
Updated November 7, 2023
Project Safe Childhood