US man gets 20 years for coercing teen girl online to send him illicit images


Law enforcement identified potentially 22 minor victims. The content included hundreds of videos and images and reflected minors around the country self-producing child sexual abuse material at Herbert’s instruction. — Image by freepik

A Billings man who admitted to coercing a minor girl in New York to make and send him sexually explicit images of herself was sentenced on Feb 15 to 20 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release.

Jeffrey Eugene Herbert, 35, pleaded guilty in March to production of child pornography and possession of child pornography. US District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided. The court also ordered restitution of US$842, said US Attorney Jesse Laslovich.

Herbert possessed and distributed child sexual abuse material prior to using minor victims to produce the material for his personal enjoyment, according to court documents.

In June 2022, the parents of a 13-year-old girl, identified as Jane Doe 1, in New York reported to law enforcement that their daughter was coerced to self-produce child sexual abuse material online through a social media application.

An investigation and review of Jane Doe 1's phone determined that the girl and a user, “amberbaby 14141”, had exchanged nearly 900 communications in June 2022. The user, “amberbaby 14141”, who was later identified as Herbert, was posing as a 14-year-old girl and was actively soliciting sexually explicit content from Jane Doe 1.

In an attempt to solicit more material from Jane Doe 1, Herbert became increasingly coercive and threatening. He threatened to send the videos that she had sent him to others and said he would “mess ur life up”.

Law enforcement executed a search warrant on Herbert’s residence in October 2022 and collected electronic media. In an interview with law enforcement, Herbert admitted to using the “amberbaby 14141” account to coerce underage girls to produce sexually explicit content.

Herbert told law enforcement where child sexual abuse material would be located on his cellular phone, and investigators found a hidden application where folders were organised by names of victims. Law enforcement identified potentially 22 minor victims. The content included hundreds of videos and images and reflected minors around the country self-producing child sexual abuse material at Herbert’s instruction.

Assistant US Attorney Zeno B. Baucus prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by US Attorney's Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. – Billings Gazette, Mont./Tribune News Service

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