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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 31, 2022

North Carolina Man Arrested After Using Snapchat, Grindr to Solicit Teenagers in Southwest Virginia

ABINGDON, Va. – A North Carolina man was arrested January 24, 2022 on criminal charges related to his alleged solicitation of teenage boys in Southwest Virginia using the social media applications Grindr and Snapchat.

According to court documents, Jonathan Avery Shumate, 53, of Warrensville, North Carolina, used both Snapchat and Grindr to contact two teenage males residing in Grayson County, Virginia, and offered to provide vapes and vaping materials in exchange for the boys sending him sexually explicit photographs and videos of themselves. After communicating online for several weeks, Shumate offered to bring the teens vaping supplies, which they paid him for with cash. Later, Shumate told the victims they could provide him with nude pictures of themselves instead of cash for the vaping supplies. Shumate also offered to provide oral sex for the juveniles.

“We live in an online world where our children and teens are connected, virtually, to people all over the globe,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “While online safety starts at home, when individuals seek to exploit our youth using the internet and its social media sites, it is the job of the Department of Justice to step in.”

“Without caution and awareness, social media platforms can easily become a catalyst for predatory behavior as demonstrated by Mr. Shumate,” Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador of the FBI’s Richmond Division said. “Protecting unsuspecting youth from what could become life-long consequences at the hands of online predators is a responsibility the FBI and our partners take very seriously.  If you’ve been victimized, or know of a similar situation occurring, please report it to us at 1-804-261-1044, or online at tips.fbi.gov.”

Shumate is charged with one count of attempting to engage in sexually explicit conduct with a minor.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lena L. Busscher is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated January 31, 2022