Man used Snapchat to blackmail teen for sexual photos, US prosecutors say 


Burney, 28, used Snapchat to blackmail a 14-year-old boy into sending him sexually explicit images, the United States Attorney’s office said in a news release. — Bloomberg

A Charlotte man was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison on March 30 for using a social media app to blackmail a teen and to distribute child pornography.

Sean Matthew Burney, 28, used Snapchat to blackmail a 14-year-old boy into sending him sexually explicit images, the United States Attorney’s office said in a news release.

Burney originally posed as a woman in February 2021 to contact the victim, then once the teen sent sexually explicit photos, he used those to blackmail him, prosecutors say.

Court records show Burney demanded additional child pornography from the teen, and threatened to post the sexually explicit images and videos on social media if he did not comply.

Burney knew the teen was only 14, the US Attorney’s office said. When the teen stopped responding, Burney posted the teen’s Snapchat account name and a caption contact him if people wanted videos.

This occurred from Feb 21-24 and a criminal investigation was launched once the victim’s mother contacted the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to report the blackmail, according to the release.

In October, Burney pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography, according to the US Attorney’s office. He is currently in federal custody and as part of his sentence he will be under lifetime supervised release and be required to register as a sex offender.

The FBI reported that it has seen a “huge increase” in what it refers to as sextortion among children and teens. Sextortion occurs when someone solicits a sexual photo of the victim and threatens to publish it if they don’t send more. – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service

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