Previously Convicted Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge of Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity
Baltimore Man Posed as a Teenage Girl on Social Media and Other Platforms to Entice Teenage Boys to Send Sexually Explicit Images
Baltimore, Maryland – Jeffrey R. Cummings, Jr., age 35, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to a federal charge for enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity during a period of time when Cummings was required to register as a sex offender. Cummings has been detained since his arrest on July 19, 2019.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Postal Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.
According to his plea agreement, in 2008 Cummings was convicted of a sex offense in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, based on his sexual contact with a 10-year-old boy, and was required to register as a sex offender in Maryland. From March 2017 through July 2019, Cummings operated multiple social media accounts using a variety of aliases, including elaborate, false female personas, to communicate with minor boys under the false pretense that he was a minor girl. Using his accounts, Cummings coerced and enticed at least six minor male victims, ranging in age from 13 to 16 years old, to send Cummings pictures and videos of themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Cummings also admitted that he further distributed some of the sexually explicit photos received from the victims.
As detailed in the plea agreement, during his conversations with the victims, Cummings, posing as a teenage girl, requested the victims to send “her” a sexually explicit photograph or video. Thinking that they were communicating with a teenage girl, and often after Cummings sent the victims pictures of a teenage girl purported to be pictures of “herself,” including nude images of a pubescent female’s genital area, at least five of the minor victims sent Cummings sexually explicit images of themselves. In a group chat that included a minor boy and at least two of Cummings’ alias social media accounts, Cummings threatened to publicly post a sexually explicit video of a minor victim if the victim did not meet his demands. Despite the minor boy’s objections, Cummings subsequently posted the video to a group chat on a social media platform. Using his alias accounts Cummings continued to taunt the minor boy and threatened to post the victim’s video and address online, and send the video to the victim’s teachers.
Throughout his conversations with several of the victims, Cummings requested that the victims send him their previously worn socks by mail. Cummings claimed that they were for a “science project,” and even offered one victim “$20 a pair.”
Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Cummings’ residence on July 19, 2019, and seized his cell phone, which contained images of child pornography, including sexually explicit images of the victims. The phone also had accessed several of Cummings’ alias social media accounts. After his arrest that same day, Cummings agreed to speak with investigators. Cummings made numerous statements attributing exchanges of nude photos on social media and the solicitation of dirty socks for a sexual fetish to his teenage son, stating that he had two sons, ages 15 and nine, who lived with his mother in Pennsylvania. Further, Cummings stated that he asked his brother to pick up socks from his post office box and deliver them to his son in Pennsylvania. In fact, Cummings is an only child, has not fathered or raised any children, and his mother has never raised or kept any children for Cummings.
Cummings faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison for enticement of a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has not yet scheduled sentencing.
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 Attorney’s 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 individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and FBI for their work in the investigation, and thanked the Baltimore Police Department for its assistance. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mary W. Setzer and Christine L. Duey, who are prosecuting the federal case, and recognized Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers for his assistance.
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