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Press Release

Forsyth County man arrested for soliciting child pornography from teenage girls on Snapchat

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA, Ga. – Edward “Eddie” Okenica has been charged on a criminal complaint alleging he produced, received, and possessed child pornography, and committed related charges.

“Okenica allegedly produced, received, and collected images portraying the sexual exploitation and abuse of young teenage girls,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “The allegations in this case are heinous, but it also serves as a reminder that parents must be aware of their children’s social media activity.  Predators continue to prey on our youth through social media more than any other method.”

“Sextortion remains a huge threat to our youth.   Unfortunately once a child’s image is shared online it can never be brought back,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan.  “HSI remains committed to both aggressively investigating those who try to prey on our children as well as working diligently to try and educate both parents and their children of the dangers that exist in this digital world.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, and the other information presented in the federal complaint: Federal agents determined that since at least November 2018, Eddie Okenica had contacted minor girls using a Snapchat account and allegedly solicited nude photographs or videos from these children. Agents determined that Okenica contacted dozens of teenage girls across the country using Snapchat and successfully persuaded them to send him nude photographs and videos. In some instances, Okenica offered to pay the minors for these materials.

Investigators uncovered evidence that Okenica also allegedly threatened to publicly expose at least three of the victims if they refused to send him the nude photographs and videos. Okenica, for example, threatened to send nude photographs of a 12-year-old girl to all her Instagram friends if she did not comply with his demands.

Edward “Eddie” Okenica, 23, of Cumming, Georgia, was arrested on August 14, 2019, and made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Janet F. King. 

Members of the public are reminded that a complaint only contains charges.  The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Anyone with information, or who may have been a victim in this case, please contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations at 404-346-2831.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alex R. Sistla and Erin Sanders, are prosecuting the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Updated August 21, 2019

Topic
Project Safe Childhood