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Press Release

Illinois Man Sentenced to 22 Years in Federal Prison for Sexual Exploitation and “Sextortion” of a 12-Year-Old Girl Via Snapchat and Omegle

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS – Kyle Peterson, 25, of Rockford, Illinois, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a twelve-year-old girl.

According to court documents, between March of 2020 and March of 2021, Kyle Peterson persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Beginning on March 20, 2020, Peterson used the social media platforms Omegle and Snapchat to contact minors, including Victim 1. Victim 1 was twelve years old at the time of contact with Peterson. Knowing the victim was a child, Peterson began to groom her by sending her sexually explicit images and videos online. The material Peterson distributed to Victim 1 included an image depicting sadomasochistic behavior and images and videos depicting sexual abuse of animals.

Peterson engaged in sexually explicit video chats with the child and instructed her to send him sexually explicit videos of herself. When Victim 1 stopped complying with Peterson’s continuous demands, he began threatening to disseminate her sexually explicit images and videos to her family and friends and post them on the Internet.

This criminal behavior is commonly referred to as “sextortion.” After the criminals have one or more videos or pictures, they threaten to publish that content, or they threaten violence, to get the victim to produce more images. The shame, fear, and confusion children feel when they are caught in this cycle often prevents them from asking for help or reporting the abuse. Caregivers and young people should understand how the crime occurs and openly discuss online safety. More information about the efforts of the Justice Department and FBI to protect children from sextortion can be found on the FBI’s website.

“The defendant not only exposed a child to some of the most disturbing and heinous sexually explicit online imagery, but also took advantage of a preteen girl’s vulnerability to threaten and coerce her into complying with his demands,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “We commend the Avon Police Department and the FBI for rescuing this victim and potentially others from the defendant’s ongoing sexual exploitation. The sentence imposed today should be a warning to anyone who might engage in these crimes that they will be identified, prosecuted, and sentenced to significant terms in federal prison.”

“The Avon Police Department takes great pride in protecting children from online predators who exploit children in the most unimaginable ways. The efforts of our Detectives were key in holding Mr. Peterson responsible for his conduct. We hope the victim is able move forward after this conviction,” said Deputy Chief Brian Nugent, Avon Police Department. “The Avon community is thankful for the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We encourage parents to have a discussion with their children about online safety, body safety, and identifying a few adults that they feel comfortable reporting any instances of abuse to.”

Avon Police Department and the FBI investigated the case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. Chief District Judge, Tanya Walton Pratt. Judge Pratt also ordered that Peterson be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 20 years following his release from federal prison and pay $16,000 in restitution to the child victims. Peterson must also register as sex offender wherever he lives, works, or goes to school, as required by law.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany J. Preston who prosecuted the case.

In fiscal year 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, the Southern District of Indiana was second out of the 94 federal districts in the country for the number of child sexual exploitation cases prosecuted.

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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 

Updated December 22, 2022

Topics
Project Safe Childhood