Cherokee County Man Charged with Extorting Teen Girls for Pornographic Images
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 04, 2014|
ATLANTA—Destin Whitmore has been arraigned and detained on charges of extortion, enticement of a minor, and distribution and possession child pornography. Whitmore was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 19, 2014.
“This defendant preyed on teenage girls and attempted to extort them to create and send him pornographic images,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “He threatened to post compromising images of the girls on the Internet and to send them to their friends and family. This is a stark reminder of the need for parents to talk with their children about Internet safety.”
Ricky Maxwell, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “This case exemplifies the need to remain vigilant against child predators and others who would exploit the vulnerabilities of minor children over the Internet. The FBI remains uniquely positioned to investigate and bring forward for prosecution those individuals who would exploit and harm our nation’s children, and we ask that anyone with information regarding such activity to call their nearest FBI field office.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: In April 2012, a teen girl in Arizona reported that she was contacted using a popular social media website by an individual using a profile name “Ralph Jenkins.” The individual using the Jenkins profile, later identified as the defendant, Destin Whitmore, sent the teen compromising images of herself and threatened to send those images to others, including her family members, if she did not immediately create additional images for him. A subsequent investigation of that profile, along with a profile using the name “Lenny Carlington,” showed that both profiles were used by the defendant, along with his own social media accounts, to transmit pornographic images of numerous teen girls to the girls to extort them for additional images. If they did not comply with his wishes, he threatened to distribute the pornographic images to others and post them on various websites for public consumption. Many of the girls Whitmore extorted were known to him through personal relationships or through long-term communications using web cameras with the girls online.
The indictment charges Whitmore, 22, of Canton, Georgia, with five counts of extortion, one count of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity, three counts of distribution of child pornography, and five counts of possession of child pornography.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Cobb County Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Jill E. Steinberg is prosecuting the case.
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.Pressefirstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.