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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 11, 2020

U.S. Attorney Charges Middletown Man With Sexual Exploitation Of Minors

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced today the arrest of JONATHAN WEISS, a/k/a “Ian_Jameson.”  WEISS is charged with communicating with three different underage victims online and directing them to take sexually explicit images and send them to WEISS.  WEISS was arrested this morning and presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy in Manhattan federal court and detained.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Jonathan Weiss’s alleged crimes are abhorrent and predatory.  Using a common social media app, Weiss allegedly sexually exploited three 13-year-olds.  We will continue to work with our partners at Homeland Security Investigations to vigorously investigate and prosecute defendants who prey on children.”

HSI Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said:  “Jonathan Weiss allegedly posed as a minor and directed his teenage victims to take and send sexually explicit photographs to him through Snapchat.  It is horrific for anyone to prey on our most vulnerable.  HSI New York’s Child Exploitation Investigation Unit is resolute in the pursuit of alleged predators lurking within our communities, and we will continue to work with our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to protect our community from predators seeking to pull them into their dark, evil world.”

According to the Complaint[1] filed yesterday in White Plains federal court and unsealed today:

In September 2019, WEISS, a/k/a “Ian_Jameson,” communicated online via Snapchat with a 13-year-old minor (“Victim-1”) and directed Victim-1 to take and send sexually explicit photographs of Victim-1 to WEISS.   WEISS engaged in the same type of activity with another 13-year-old minor (“Victim-2”) in August 2019 and a third 13-year-old minor (“Victim-3”) in May 2020.

During his communications with his victims, WEISS utilized the Snapchat screen name “Ian_Jameson” and posed as a minor.  WEISS allegedly told Victim-1 that if she did not send more nude pictures to WEISS, he would send the pictures she had already sent to others.  In response to the threats to send her pictures to others, Victim-1 “blocked” “Ian_Jameson” on Snapchat.  Shortly thereafter, people began telling her that they had received her nude images.   

There may be more victims of this alleged conduct.  If you have information to report, contact Homeland Security Investigations through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2423 or by completing its online tip form.  Both are staffed around-the-clock by investigators.  From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199.  Hearing-impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.           

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WEISS, 29, of Middletown, New York, is charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, each carrying a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.  The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the efforts of Homeland Security Investigations, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in Orange Park, Florida, and the Longview Police Department in Longview, Texas, in connection with this investigation.  He added that the investigation is ongoing.                     

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. 

The charges in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Jim Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
20-123
Updated June 11, 2020