FBI warns about more child sextortion cases


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FBI warns parents 'sextortion' cases involving children on the rise
ABC News

FBI warns parents 'sextortion' cases involving children on the rise originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

As the school year across the country winds down, the threat of online predators is on the increase, the FBI said.

Specifically, the FBI warns parents that they are seeing in increase in the number of sextortion cases involving minors across the country.

Over the last five years, they say prosecutions are up 60 percent.

Sextortion is "when an adult coerces or entices a child to a minor kid under 18 to produce a sexually explicit image of themselves and then transmit that image to them on the internet," Brian Herrick, the Assistant Section Chief of the FBI's Criminal Division told ABC News.

Mark Barnwell is one of those adults and was sentenced to 35 years in prison in January for setting up female-presenting, false personas on Facebook the Department of Justice said.

Barnwell, according to the government, on a female-presenting profile, would tell minor girls that he was offering them a modeling job that paid thousands of dollars, with one catch: they had to send photos of themselves in sexually suggestive positions and poses.

"Hey would u be interested in modeling they pay 500-5000 a shoot," the initial message would usually say, according to the indictment.

Once Barnwell received the images, he'd threaten to post them online, attempting to hurt the minor victim, if he didn't receive more.

His technique was textbook according to Herrick.

"This starts the cycle of victimization that is very hard to break out of because now, it's not one picture. It's several pictures, it's videos," Herrick said...

In some cases, the predator will get a sibling involved as well.

Barnwell, according to the government had 43 victims, which is common practice for offenders.

"We go to an arrest and we put them in handcuffs, we take his computer, we look at his computer and we don't find one victim. We don't find 10 victims. We find 100, 200, 500 victims," Herrick said.