Repeat Sex Offender Sentenced To 30 Years in Federal Prison for Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Unlawful Sexual Activity
Baltimore Man Posed as Female and Male Teenage Minors on Social Media to Entice Teenage Boys to Send Sexually Explicit Images and Threatened to Kill Minor Victims if They Did Not Comply with His Demands
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Jeffrey Cummings, age 36, of Baltimore, Maryland to 30 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for 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. Judge Blake also ordered that, upon his release from prison, Cummings must continue to register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Cummings has been detained since his arrest on July 19, 2019.
The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel A. Adame of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division.
According to his plea agreement, from March 2017 to July 2019, Cummings attempted to coerce dozens of minor victims to engage in sexually explicit conduct on a popular social media platform. Using a smartphone and computers, Cummings communicated with at least six minor victims. During that time, Cummings was required to register as a sex offender, as the result of a 2008 conviction in Anne Arundel County, Maryland for sexual contact with a 10-year-old boy.
"Cummings was a repeat sex offender who preyed on children, deceiving them to send him illegal images, and threatening to kill them if they refused to comply”, said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner. “We hope this sentence will deter others like Cummings from victimizing children, and we hope this case will remind parents that there are predators, like this defendant, lurking on the internet. Every parent should familiarize themselves with the social media platforms their children may use and their online contacts. Educate your child on the dangers of communicating with persons online, even those that may seem non-threatening, and how to report suspicious persons to an adult."
“Online safety for today’s children is constantly changing as advancing technology poses new risks”, said Inspector in Charge Daniel A. Adame, Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “Postal Inspectors continue their long tradition of working with our law enforcement partners to investigate those predators who seek to sexually exploit children.”
The investigation into Cummings’ illegal conduct began after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a CyberTip from a guardian of two minor boys. The guardian alerted authorities to a suspicious individual who had contacted her minor nephews on the internet and asked the minor boys to send dirty socks in the mail.
According to his plea agreement, 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.
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”.
If the victims declined to comply with Cummings’ demands, he threatened the victims including death threats, threatening to publicly post the victims’ home addresses, distribute the victims’ sexually explicit videos to their teachers and school, or post the victims’ sexually explicit videos to social media. For example, 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.
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.
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.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner 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. Lenzner 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.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-childhood and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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