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Justice News

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

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Middletown Registered Sex Offender Sentenced In White Plains Federal Court To 30 Years In Prison For Sexually Exploiting A Minor Via Facebook

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 Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that DANIEL COONS, 35, a registered sex offender, was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison by United States District Judge Cathy Seibel for sexually exploiting a 14-year-old girl via Facebook. COONS coerced the girl into taking sexually explicit photographs of herself and sending them to him online. The sentencing followed COONS’s guilty plea on September 3, 2014.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “This case underlines the urgent need for law enforcement to continue its efforts to protect children from those who prey on them. As this sentencing demonstrates, we will use every tool available to law enforcement to prosecute and punish those who sexually exploit children.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said: “Crimes of this nature rob children of their innocence, creating long-lasting negative effects on our nation’s most vulnerable. Our children deserve to live in a society free from the advances of predators. This sentence is a reminder of our commitment to protect their most basic rights.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in related court proceedings:

On March 24, 2005, COONS was convicted in Orange County Court of Sexual Abuse in the 1st degree, Engaging in a Course of Sexual Conduct in the 2nd degree, and Sexual Abuse in the 3rd degree. He was sentenced to six months in prison and ten years’ probation. In addition, as a result of that conviction, he was required to register with the New York State Sex Offender Registry.

From at least January 29, 2013, through May 14, 2013, COONS, using the Facebook names “mike.storms.77715,” “nicholas.mathew.7,” and “jacod.davis.9,” communicated with a 14-year-old girl in Kentucky on Facebook and convinced her to take and send sexually explicit photographs. COONS used the different identities to make her believe she was speaking to three different people and tricked her into thinking that her photographs were being shared. COONS threatened the girl that, if she did not send additional sexually explicit photographs, the photos she had already sent would be posted on Facebook.

COONS used an iPhone to access Facebook notwithstanding the fact that the terms of his probation prohibited his use of Facebook. After his arrest, COONS admitted to using multiple Facebook accounts to entice underage girls to send sexually explicit images of themselves to him. COONS said that he used the different Facebook names to convince the girls that they were speaking to more than one male and to convince them that their pictures were being shared with other users. COONS admitted that he engaged in this conduct with at least 10 underage girls. In addition, COONS identified the girl in Kentucky as one of the girls with whom he communicated via Facebook and indicated that he knew the Victim was 14 years old.

Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of the FBI, the Rockland County Computer Crimes Task Force, the Middletown Police Department, the New York State Police, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in connection with this investigation.

In sentencing COONS, Judge Seibel underscored the “particularly cruel” nature of the offense and stated that the 30-year sentence was necessary to protect the public from further crimes by the defendant.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney Marcia S. Cohen is in charge of the prosecution.

Press Release Number: 
Updated May 14, 2015