A Pennsylvania man is accused of harassing multiple victims online after enticing them to send sexually explicit images and videos via Snapchat and then using the material for blackmail, authorities said.
In October 2020, one underage alleged victim contacted police, who then opened an investigation.
On June 8, officers served a search warrant at the Bensalem home of Ian Pisarchuk, 25, after they linked the property to an IP address used in connection with the alleged sextortion, Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV reported.
Police allegedly found numerous photos and videos on the suspect’s phone, many sexually explicit, according to the station.
Officers said Pisarchuk’s alleged victims ranged in age from 12 to 19 and there were at least seven that they know about but believe there could be as many as dozens more since 2016.
“He harassed and bullied and tricked people into thinking there were pictures of them out there…,” Bensalem Police Director Fred Harran said.
According to an arrest affidavit, in 2019, Pasarchuk allegedly told one victim that he knew where she and her parents lived and he would kill her if she did not follow his instructions. He also allegedly threatened to release explicit photos and videos of the victims unless they sent him more explicit material.
In the affidavit, police said Pasarchuk allegedly admitted to receiving photos from 21-year-old Lindsey Piccone after “...she was contacted by an unknown Snapchat user on September 5, 2016, who threatened to ruin her life, expose and blackmail her.”
Piccone killed herself two months later. Her suicide note, according to WPVI-TV, read: “Before someone else ruins my life, I'm going to ruin mine.”
The Bucks County district attorney said it was “premature” to speculate if Pisarchuk would be charged in connection with Piccone’s death but that “everything is on the table.”
Pisarchuk currently faces a slew of charges, from enticing a minor to produce child pornography, possession of child pornography, sexual extortion and stalking to unlawful contact with a minor, dissemination of obscene/sexual material, and corruption of minors, among others, according to WPVI-TV.