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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ilion Man Sentenced for Sexual Exploitation of His Daughter

Father Assumed A False Identity On Social Media To Exploit His Daughter

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK -- An Ilion, New York man who portrayed himself on social media as a teenage boy to sexually exploit his own daughter, was sentenced today to serve 20 years in prison for his crimes, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian.  

In court papers and as part of his guilty plea, the defendant admitted that in 2013 he assumed the false identity of “Dan Smithson” and used social media to contact, befriend, and sexually exploit his then 14 year old daughter.  As a part of the ruse, “Dan Smithson” became the child’s “boyfriend,” encouraged her to engage with him in sexually explicit chats, and when the child attempted to end the relationship, blackmailed her into taking and sending him sexually explicit images of herself – by threatening to reveal their explicit correspondence to her father, who was in reality sending her the messages himself.

The defendant previously pled guilty to all twelve counts of the federal superseding indictment, including charges of sexual exploitation of a minor; receipt, transportation and distribution of child pornography; and transferring obscene material to a minor younger than sixteen.

Earlier this year, in Herkimer County Court, the defendant was sentenced to imprisonment for six years for his actual physical sexual abuse of the daughter, which occurred after he concocted the fake “suicide” of “Smithson,” the fictitious online boyfriend. 

While he was sexually abusing his daughter, the defendant also continued to harass her with anonymous electronic communications sending the sexually explicit images and graphically describing his sexual desires and intentions for her.

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said: “The defendant’s grotesque manipulation of his own daughter is shocking even to those of us who have seen depravity in its rawest form in prior cases.  His incestuous crimes were deviously planned and ruthlessly executed. The outstanding work of local police and the FBI in bringing this predator to justice reflects our resolve to use all the resources of the law to protect our children.”

“The defendant used the anonymity of the internet to target and victimize his own daughter,” said Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale. “He has betrayed every law of human decency. His actions are as appalling as they are unimaginable. Predators like him are on notice, their horrific crimes will not remain hidden.  The FBI, together with our law enforcement partners, will bring them to justice.”

In addition to imprisonment, the sentence imposed by United States District Judge Brenda K. Sannes included a lifetime term of supervised release and required registration as a sex offender. 

The case was investigated by the Ilion Police Department, the Herkimer County District Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Fletcher, as a part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 

Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Topic: 
Cyber Crime
Project Safe Childhood
Updated August 2, 2016