Man posed as a high schooler on Snapchat to get explicit photos from girls, US feds say


Detectives with the Glastonbury Police Department began looking into the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl in October 2021, according to the release. The girl had met her assailant on Snapchat, the release says. - AFP

A man is facing up to life in prison after pleading guilty to charges related to exploiting children on Snapchat, according to federal prosecutors in Connecticut.

Justin McKenney, 29, pleaded guilty April 11 to one count of enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity and one count of receipt of child pornography, according to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office District of Connecticut.

Detectives with the Glastonbury Police Department began looking into the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl in October 2021, according to the release. The girl had met her assailant on Snapchat, the release says.

Investigators found McKenney was posing as a high school student on Snapchat and using the username “keepingupg,” the release says.

He started talking to the 13-year-old through the app in September 2021 and “subsequently enticed her to engage in sexual activity,” the release says.

He also received “child pornography” from three other girls between the ages of 13 and 17, according to the release.

McKenney’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News.

A spokesperson for Snap Inc said in an email that sexual exploitation of minors is illegal and violates the company’s community guidelines.

Sending nude or explicit material is a violation of the platform’s policies, according to the email. The company uses technologies, including “Google’s CSAI Match technology,” which is used to detect illegal videos, including videos of child sexual abuse, on the app and report them to the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In-app reporting tools are also available so users can confidentially report harmful content, the spokesperson said.

The charge of “enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity” carries a potential minimum prison sentence of 10 years and maximum sentence of life, according to the US Attorney’s Office. The charge of “receipt of child pornography” carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum term of 20 years, according to the release.

McKenney is scheduled to be sentenced July 11.

He has been in police custody since he was arrested March 17, 2022, according to the release.

Glastonbury is about 10 miles southeast of Hartford. – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service

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