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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 20, 2019

Local Soccer Trainer Charged With Exchanging Naked Photos With Minors

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Shelby Garigen, 41, of Clarence Center, NY, was charged by criminal complaint with receipt of child pornography and access with intent to view child pornography. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 30 years, and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on May 28, 2019, a parent contacted an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) in Monroe County, NY, and advised that the defendant had inappropriate chats via Snapchat with his 17-year-old son (Victim 1). Garigen had, up until approximately one month prior, served as the athletic trainer for Victim 1’s elite soccer team, and had been associated with the soccer program for approximately the past 12 years. The Monroe County ADA contacted the FBI regarding the case.

The complaint states that Garigen and Victim 1 communicated via Snapchat between November 2018 and February 2019. The conversation turned sexual about a week or two after the defendant and Victim 1 began chatting with Garigen sending Victim 1 a picture of her breasts. After sending the picture, the defendant requested that Victim 1 send a naked picture. Thereafter, the two began exchanging sexually explicit photos of themselves to one another over Snapchat. All told, Garigen requested that Victim 1 send her nude pictures on approximately 8 or 9 occasions, while the defendant herself sent 7 or 8 nude pictures of herself. 

During the investigation, an undercover investigator assumed the online identity of Victim 1, and re-engaged with Garigen on Snapchat. Thereafter, the defendant engaged in sexually explicit conversation and sent videos of her engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Eventually, arrangements were made for Garigen to meet with Victim 1 so that the two could engage sexual activity. On June 14, 2019, Garigen arrived at the designated location in order to pick-up Victim 1 so that they could return to her house to engage in sexual activity. At that time, a federal search warrant was executed to seize and search Garigen’s phone.

The investigation also determined that the defendant exchanged nude pictures with a second 17-year-old male (Victim 2), who was also associated with the elite soccer team.

“While this case is somewhat unusual in that the defendant is a woman,” U.S. Attorney Kennedy observed, “it is familiar in the sense that defendant used two of the most frequent and common methods that child predators use in order to gain access to children. The first is the internet, and the second is occupying a position of authority and trust in the child’s life. Parents should be coaching their kids on how to defend themselves from these sorts predators.”

“The exploitation of children is so prevalent in this country-and around the world-that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have full time task forces to attack this crime problem,” said FBI Buffalo Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert. “That is a terrible reality. We often remind parents to talk to their children about the dangers of meeting strangers online. But more and more often, we are seeing children victimized by adults who have been placed in positions of trust. And youth-sports programs, like all youth-serving organizations, give adults incredible access to our children.”

The defendant made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and was released on conditions, including no employment with any youth related sports program, no contact with minors, restrictions on the use of electronic devices, and electronic monitoring. 

Any parent or member of the public who has information related to this case are asked to call the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 716-843-1616.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Buffalo Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert, and the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack. Additional assistance was provided by the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Sandra Doorley.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated June 21, 2019