Baton Rouge Man Charged With Sextortion Scheme Involving Numerous Children
BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment in connection with an international investigation into an alleged scheme to extort numerous children into producing child pornography, also referred to as “sextortion”. Specifically, the indictment charges Matthew Chaney Walker, age 25, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with extortion, production of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, possession of child pornography, and forfeiture.
According to the Indictment, Walker frequented social networking websites, such as Kik Messenger, in order to meet young girls online. The anonymous nature of the online relationship allowed Walker to misrepresent his name, age, gender, and interests. Pretending to be a teenage girl, Walker used different online identities and screen names, including “emilyluvsyou20,” “Emily,” “its_zoey_2002,” and “Zoey Jane,” to communicate with his victims. Soon after establishing contact, Walker used deceit and manipulation to obtain compromising images of the victims. Thereafter, Walker threatened to send compromising images of the victims to their schools, friends, families, and/or the public unless the victims created and sent to Walker images of themselves nude or engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Some victims complied with Walker’s demands for nude and/or sexually explicit images. Each victim eventually told a family member, who intervened and contacted law enforcement.
The investigation of this case is ongoing. To date, at least four minor female victims have been identified, although law enforcement is attempting to confirm the identity of many other victims. Anyone who believes that they might have been a victim of Walker’s offenses is encouraged to contact the Baton Rouge Office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), at 225-757-7770, extension 106.
If convicted, Walker faces significant incarceration, fines, restitution, forfeiture, and supervised release following imprisonment.
U.S. Attorney Green stated: “Child predators increasingly use the internet to attack our children in ways never imagined a generation ago. No longer does safety equate to being inside, behind locked doors, as the interest has brought the best and worst of society into our homes. The good news is that communities are fighting back, along with prosecutors and law enforcement agents all over the world. This indictment represents another effort in this important fight.”
“Threatening and extorting young girls into producing sexually explicit images of themselves is a callously deviant act of predatory behavior,” said HSI New Orleans Acting Special Agent in Charge Cindy M. Johnson. “Child pornography steals the innocence of children, and the associated emotional manipulation can scar a child for life. HSI will continue to use all the tools in its arsenal to identify the perpetrators of these horrendous acts and seek justice on behalf of their victims.”
Detective Ryan Wilson of the Peterborough Police Service in Ontario, Canada, stated: “This investigation is a prime example of the importance of working collaboratively with our international partners in an effort to combat the exploitation of children on the Internet.”
This matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (DHS-HIS) and the U.S. Secret Service, with assistance from the Cyber Crime Unit and the Criminal Division of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office; the Sheriff’s Office for Cheatham County, Tennessee; the Sheriff’s Office for Ottawa County, Michigan; the City Police Department for Naperville, Illinois; the Peterborough Police Service in Ontario, Canada, which a member of the Ontario Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cam T. Le who serves as the Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the Middle District of Louisiana.
These federal charges are part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ 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 those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “Resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.
NOTE: An indictment is an accusation by the Grand Jury. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless adjudicated guilty at trial or through a guilty plea.