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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Volunteer Wrestling Coach In Rockland County With Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Diego Rodriguez, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the arrest and filing of charges against Marcus Stroud, a 19-year-old volunteer wrestling coach in Rockland County, New York.  The Complaint charges that STROUD persuaded a minor under the age of 14 (“Victim-1”) to engage in oral sex while STROUD recorded the activity with his iPhone.  STROUD was presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith McCarthy in White Plains federal court and detained without bail.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Marcus Stroud is charged with coercing a minor into sexual conduct by posing as a Good Samaritan, while actually preying upon the terrified victim through intimidation and the threat of public embarrassment.  This Office and our law enforcement partners remain committed to investigating and prosecuting those who commit these predatory crimes against children."

FBI Assistant Director Diego Rodriguez said: “There is no level of depravity that can’t find an outlet online or on digital devices in our society these days.  This case illustrates just how easy it is allegedly to manipulate and control children who are simply too naïve of the world around them.  We as law enforcement do all we can, and we are successful at stopping many of these alleged criminal deviants.  But we won’t ever be able to stop all of them.  Parents have to control their children’s access to the outside world through their phones and internet connections.” 

According to the Complaint[1]:

In late December 2015, STROUD met Victim-1 at a youth wrestling tournament in Rockland County, New York.  STROUD and Victim-1 connected online on SnapChat and Instagram.  Thereafter, Victim-1 connected with a SnapChat user using the account name “thechsenpug” (“Pug”).  Pug sent Victim-1 nude photos of a female and requested nude photos in return.  After Victim-1 provided several nude photos, Pug told Victim-1 that Pug would release the photos on social media unless Victim-1 videotaped himself performing “oral sex on a black guy.”

In early January 2016, STROUD contacted Victim-1 via SnapChat and told Victim-1 that STROUD had come across naked pictures of Victim-1 on Instagram but the pictures had been deleted.  STROUD told Victim-1 that he was good at computers and could help Victim-1.  Victim-1 told STROUD about the photos and STROUD told Victim-1, among other things, that he would put an “alert” on the pictures, so that STROUD would be notified when the pictures were uploaded to the Internet.  STROUD also told Victim-1 that he would be willing to perform the sexual act with Victim-1 to prevent the photos from being released.  Victim-1 told STROUD he did not want to perform the sexual act. 

In mid-February, STROUD asked Victim-1 when and where they would engage in the sexual act.  STROUD told Victim-1 that if he wouldn’t do the sexual act, STROUD didn’t care if Victim-1 was exposed.  On or about February 20, 2016, STROUD told Victim-1 that he had been notified that nude photos of Victim-1 had been posted on an online web page.  STROUD told Victim-1 that he had been able to delete the photos.  STROUD also told Victim-1 that he was notified that the photos had been sent to two different phone numbers.  STROUD told Victim-1 that they should just do the sexual act and get it over with.  Later that day, STROUD met with Victim-1 in Rockland County, New York, engaged in sexual activity with Victim-1, and recorded it.  STROUD told Victim-1 that he would send the video to the female who had requested it and would put a virus on the video so that, when she opened it, STROUD would be able to take control of her phone and delete Victim-1’s photos. 

On or about February 21, 2016, Victim-1 received a SnapChat message from a SnapChat user with the user name “sweedprincess” stating that “sweedprincess” liked the video a lot and wanted to know if Victim-1 would make another.   As set forth in the Complaint, SnapChat records revealed two Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses from which “sweedprincess” logged onto SnapChat between February 9 and February 22, 2016.  Cablevision records revealed that a “Chris Stroud” in Rockland County, New York, was the subscriber of one of those IP addresses on February 10, 2016, and the other IP address on February 22, 2016.

As set forth in the Complaint, STROUD was interviewed by the Clarkstown Police Department on February 22, 2016.   STROUD stated, among other things, that Victim-1 asked him for help, that he had engaged in “computer hacking” on Victim-1’s behalf, and that the help required “sending a file.”  STROUD said that he met Victim-1 in Rockland County, New York, where they “created the file,” and then STROUD uploaded a virus into the file and sent the file.  STROUD admitted that he engaged in oral sex with Victim-1 and recorded the activity on STROUD’s phone.  STROUD stated that he told Victim-1 they would make the video and then STROUD would put a virus on the video. 

 

            *                *                *

STROUD, 19, of Nyack, New York, is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a child.  If convicted, STROUD faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.  The mandatory minimum and potential maximum sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by a judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of the FBI, the Clarkstown Police Department, and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office in connection with this investigation.

Mr. Bharara stated that the investigation is ongoing.  Anyone who has relevant information concerning STROUD or who may have encountered someone using the user names “thechsenpug” or “sweedprincess” should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (914) 989-6000. 

U.S. v. Marcus Stroud ComplaintThe prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Marcia S. Cohen is in charge of the prosecution.  

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[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

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Updated July 20, 2016