A judge sentenced an Indianapolis man to 28 years in prison Monday for tricking teenage girls as young as 13 into sending him explicit photos via Facebook and using the photos to coerce the girls into having sex with him.
U.S. District Judge William Lawrence handed down the sentence after Austin Williams, 23, pleaded guilty June 30 to charges of producing, receiving and distributing child pornography and coercing minors into sexually explicit conduct.
"You are not anonymous online and if you engage in this type of behavior, you will be held accountable," Acting U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said in a news release.
After Indianapolis police arrested Williams in January 2013 on a charge of raping a 15-year-old girl, a search of his cellphone revealed hundreds of underage girls in sexually explicit images.
Court documents say Williams created fake profiles on the social networking site to pose as teenage girls, then used those false identities to befriend at least 10 girls ranging in age from 13 to 17 years and persuaded them to send him explicit photos of themselves.
He threatened some of them that he would post the photos on Facebook unless they had sex with him, a complaint said.
Williams allegedly raped one 13-year-old girl after he tricked her into letting him drive her to a home to meet his female alter ego. Another girl whose explicit photo Williams posted to Facebook was bullied so badly by her classmates as a result that she attempted suicide, the complaint said.
Prosecutors said Williams faces supervised release for the rest of his life if he is released from federal prison.
A telephone message seeking comment was left for Williams' attorney.