Indianapolis man to plead guilty in Facebook ‘sextortion’ case

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INDIANAPOLIS (June 30, 2014) An Indianapolis man agreed to plead guilty in a Facebook sextortion case.

Federal prosecutors say Austin Williams, 24, Indianapolis, engaged in a yearlong campaign targeting girls in the Indianapolis area. He posed as a girl on Facebook and solicited explicit images from his victims. After receiving them, he threatened to make the images public unless they agreed to have sex with him or sent more images. He’s also accused of sexually assaulting one of his victims.

He’ll plead guilty Monday afternoon to federal charges of producing, receiving and distributing child pornography as well as coercing minors into sexually explicit conduct.

Indianapolis Metropolitan police arrested Williams on Jan. 24, 2013 and charged him with rape. During the investigation, IMPD found a cell phone with hundreds of sexually explicit images on it. Police discovered Williams had engaged in a sextortion racket involving young women. He used Facebook to gain their trust and often got their phone numbers so he could exchange text messages in which he convinced them to send pictures or videos.

After receiving videos and pictures, he’d threaten to post them online for friends and family to see unless the girls continued to send him material or engaged in sex acts. In one case, prosecutors said one of his targets attempted to commit suicide after she complied with his requests and Williams continued to post pictures of her anyway.

Williams tricked several of his victims into meeting up with him, often posing as the brother or boyfriend of the woman he was portraying online. In the final case, Williams followed a 15-year-old girl home and raped her outside her home, prosecutors said.

Investigators said at least ten teens were duped. They sent him pictures, received pictures from Williams or were coerced into illicit sexual activities.

Williams faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison on many of the counts. He also faces lifetime supervised release and will have to register as a sex offender.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.