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Press Release

Middletown man arrested for coercing, exploiting children online

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

CINCINNATI – Federal agents arrested a Middletown man this morning on charges alleging he exploited and coerced child victims online.

William Scott Elam, 52, allegedly connected with an estimated 20 minor females on sites and apps like Omegle and Discord and pretended to be a 14-year-old.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, in July 2023, the FBI in Milwaukee was made aware of a potential child victim through a report to law enforcement that originated with a mandated reporter. The report involved a 12-year-old victim.

It is alleged the victim met Elam on Omegle, a free online chat website that allows users to socialize without the need to register. The service randomly pairs users in one-on-one chat sessions where they chat anonymously using the names “you” and “stranger.”

Elam and the victim allegedly exchanged Discord contact information and began chatting on the app.

Elam allegedly pretended to be a 14-year-old male and coerced the child victim to send him live sexual material by telling her that he would log off Discord and cut himself if she did not comply.

It is alleged that Elam also pretended to be a 14-year-old cousin to his other persona. Using the second persona, he allegedly coerced the victim into sending new live sexual content by threatening to show “his cousin’s mom” her previous encounters with Elam.

A search of Elam’s Discord account revealed similar sexual encounters with at least three other minor victims between October and December 2022.

It is alleged that Elam also instructed one victim to self-harm via cutting on live video in addition to coercing the victim to perform sex acts live on camera.

Elam appeared in federal court in 1:30pm today. His detention hearing is scheduled for 1:30pm tomorrow before Chief Magistrate Judge Karen L. Litkovitz.

Sexually exploiting children is a federal crime punishable by a prison range of 15 to 30 years in prison. Coercion and enticement carries a potential penalty of at least 10 years and up to life in prison.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the charges. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle J. Healey is representing the United States in this case.

A criminal complaint merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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Updated October 5, 2023

Project Safe Childhood