North Carolina Man Who Used Snapchat to Solicit Minors in Galax Pleads Guilty in Federal Court
ABINGDON, Va. – A North Carolina man, who used the popular social media messaging app Snapchat to solicit minors to send him sexually explicit photographs and videos in exchange for expensive gifts, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar, Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division, and Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan announced today.
Jason Kelly Inman, 40, of Mount Airy, N.C., waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today to a one-count Information charging him with persuading, enticing, and coercing and attempting to persuade, entice, and coerce minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct. At sentencing, Inman faces a term of imprisonment of 15 to 17-and-one-half years, and a mandatory minimum term of supervised release of five years. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for July 21, 2021 at 2:30 p.m.
“This defendant used the internet to prey on vulnerable victims, promising them expensive gifts and cash in order to facilitate this egregious behavior,” United States Attorney Bubar said today. “An unfortunate side effect of living our lives increasingly online is the increased ability of bad actors to reach across the internet into the bedrooms of our children through messaging apps, social media, and other platforms. I am thankful for the work of the FBI and the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office in bringing this case to justice.”
“Sending just one sexually explicit image could be the catalyst for possible child sexual exploitation. That's why it's imperative that we educate our communities about these threats to our youth, investigate and prosecute those that prey on our children, and mitigate the effects of these crimes. Reporting these crimes in a timely manner enables trained law enforcement personnel to initiate investigations and arrange for appropriate victim services,” Special Agent in Charge Meador said today. “FBI Richmond is grateful for the partnership of the Grayson County Sheriff's Office, the Virginia State Police and the United States Attorney's Office during this investigation.”
“I commend everyone involved with the investigation, arrest, and successful prosecution of this child predator,” Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan said today. “The school administration, resource officers, investigators, and prosecutors did an outstanding job! We are thankful for the great working relationship we have with our law enforcement partners.”
Today Inman admitted that between June 2020 and December 2020, he used Snapchat to solicit minor victims living in Grayson County, Virginia, to send him sexually explicit photographs and videos of themselves. Inman targeted at least four minor, male victims, all who resided in Galax, Virginia, and ranged in age from 14 to 16 years old.
Inman’s general pattern of behavior was to exchange messages with his victims using Snapchat and provide the victims with gifts, including marijuana, vape cartridges, money, and cell phones. Inman would then turn the conversation toward sexual issues, eventually requesting and receiving sexually explicit photographs and videos from his victims via Snapchat, in exchange for the victims continuing to receive gifts. Inman also traveled to Grayson County, Virginia, to deliver gifts to his victims and meet with them in-person, including meeting at least one victim at a Grayson County school bus stop. There is no evidence of actual physical contact between Inman and the victims.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Lena L. Busscher and Whit D. Pierce are prosecuting the case for the United States.