Linton, Indiana Man Faces Extortion and Child Exploitation Charges
INDIANAPOLIS—United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler today announced the arrest of a Linton, Indiana man on seven counts of sending extortionate interstate communication and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Kenneth J. McCarter, 20, was arrested at his Linton apartment.
“Mr. McCarter victimized children through fear and violent threats over the Internet,” said Minkler. “Threatening young victims into doing unthinkable acts like Mr. McCarter did, is not a crime we take lightly in this office. He will be held fully accountable for his actions in federal court.”
In June 2015, a 19 year old victim began receiving text messages from a number she did not recognize. The text messages suggested that the sender knew the victim and stated he had seen her nude several times in the past. He further stated that if she did not send three nude photos of her to the text number, he would post sexually explicit photos of the victim on Facebook and “tag” her parents, friends and employers, etc. The text message sender sent nude photos of a female to the victim but no face was visible. The victim reported this activity to the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, who, working with the Indiana State Police and the Indianapolis Metro Police Department identified the sender as McCarter.
Investigators soon learned that McCarter was also using Facebook to communicate with the first victim and many others. Sometime using fictitious screen names, he allegedly would threaten them by saying he had sexually explicit photos. He demanded, many times threatening violence, the victims to send more sexually explicit images to him. On several occasions the victims complied, feeling frightened by McCarter. In one exchange, McCarter told the victim, “if you don’t want your life ruined, you will do what I say...” In another exchange, he threatened to post pictures on Facebook saying “…Everyone will think you are the county whore …” demanding more nude photos of the victim.
In total, seven minor victims and two adult victims have been identified and saved from further victimization.
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steven D DeBrota, who is prosecuting this case for the government, McCarter could face decades in prison if convicted on all counts.
A criminal complaint is only a charge and not indication of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in federal court.
This case was jointly investigated by the Indiana State Police, FBI, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Daviess County Sheriff’s Department and Barry County Michigan Sheriff’s Department.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006, by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resource.”