Rome Man Sentenced in Sextortion Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 31, 2014|
ROME, GA,—Joshua James Geer has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for child pornography production, coercion of minors to engage in unlawful sex acts, and possession of child pornography.
“This defendant coerced children into engaging in sexual activity and forced them to send him photos of that activity,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “He is the type of predatory monster parents fear when their children are on the Internet. He deserves every day of the sentence the court imposed.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “Having this disturbing child predator off of our streets is not only a tremendous victory for those investigators and prosecutors working this matter, but for the victims involved and for those who would have become victims had Mr. Geer been allowed to continue with his cyber based criminal exploitation of minors. The FBI will continue to provide significant investigative resources toward the investigation and apprehension of individuals such as Mr. Geer who choose to exploit and prey on children.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: on or about February 18, 2013, Geer contacted N.B., a 17-year-old boy living in Illinois, through an on-line communication service. Initially, Geer befriended the boy during their online chats. But then Geer coerced N.B. to use a cellular telephone to take photographs of N.B. and his 11-year-old sister engaged in graphic sex acts. Geer threatened to expose N.B. to others if the boy refused to send the images to Geer; so N.B. transmitted the images to Geer using an iPod computer device. Investigators identified Geer through his chats with N.B., which revealed Geer’s telephone number.
Several months later, on June 20, 2013, Pinellas County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office Detective Jennifer Zinge (“Det. Zinge”) received a complaint made by V.O., a 16 year old girl. V.O. told Det. Zinge that on June 19, 2013, she began chatting on line with a person who initially identified himself as a girl using the online profile “TNT.” Federal agents subsequently identified “TNT” as Geer.
During their online exchanges, Geer sent a photograph of a child who appeared to be a girl of about four years old to V.O. The photograph depicted the child nude above her waist. V.O. then attempted to end her online chats with Geer. But when V.O. tried to terminate her contact with Geer, he sent a text message to V.O. in which he claimed that V.O. was in possession of child pornography. In his message, Geer stated that if V.O. did not comply with his demands that he would report her to the police. Geer forced V.O. to send him nude photographs of her using her cellular telephone. V.O. did so. The photographs depict V.O.’s pubic area and V.O. posed in various lascivious positions under Geer’s written instructions.
Investigators were able to identify Geer as the person corresponding with V.O. using an Internet account, as well as his cellular telephone number. FBI agents in Atlanta, Ga., learned that Geer had used the same telephone number to contact and demand pornographic images from N.B., the boy in Illinois.
On June 20, 2013, FBI agents obtained an arrest warrant for Geer, as well as a warrant to search his home in Cartersville, Georgia. Federal agents seized an iPhone from Geer at the time of his arrest. An examination of the device revealed that it contained more than 300 images of child pornography, including graphic images depicting infants. Additionally, federal agents discovered more instances of Geer coercing minors to produce child pornography that he forced the victims to send him via the Internet, and that he distributed to others online. During a search of Geer’s closet, federal agents also found a handwritten note detailing how to commit a rape, along with various items bearing the description, “kidnapping kit.”
Geer, 22, of Rome, Ga., was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, to be followed by supervised release for life. He must also register as a sex offender as a condition of his supervised release. Geer pleaded guilty on May 22, 2014.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Assistant United States Attorney Richard S. Moultrie, Jr. prosecuted the case.
This case is a 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 home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.