Man pretended to be young girl on Snapchat to get other teens to send explicit photos

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Source: MEGA

Apr. 5 2021, Updated 5:21 p.m. ET

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A Virginia man pretended to be a teen girl on Snapchat to get others to send explicit pictures of themselves, which he then distributed. 

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Hunter Royal, 23, was sentenced to 27 years in prison in the case. He was sentenced last week after previously pleading guilty to one count of persuading, inducing, enticing and coercing minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct. 

Royal admitted to using several Snapchat accounts to contact girls, according to federal prosecutors. Some of the victims were as young as 12 years old. 

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Royal pretended to be a teen to gain their trust and would send pictures of the young girl he pretended to be, prosecutors say. He would then steer the conversation to sexual issues and convince the victims to send sexually explicit photos. 

He blackmailed threats or convinced the girls to send more pictures, according to prosecutors. Royal then distributed some of the images. 

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When he was arrested, Royal asked family members to buy a “burner” phone to delete the content of his snap chat accounts, prosecutors noted. 

“Royal exploited these minor victims, meeting them online, and is a parent’s worst nightmare.  This lengthy sentence ought to send a clear message to would-be online predators: your behavior will not be tolerated, and you will be brought to justice,” said Western District of Virginia Acting U.S. Attorney Bubar.  “These cases are some of the most important that we do, and I am grateful for the hard work of Homeland Security and our other federal and local law enforcement partners, who will continue to work tirelessly to vindicate the interests of vulnerable victims and protect them from harm.”

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