A Florida man convicted of using “sextortion” to force girls as young as 7 into sickening sexual performances on Skype has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, federal authorities said Wednesday.
Justin Shawn Smith, 35, of Miami Beach, pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography in February — after investigators learned he was convincing young girls to perform sex acts on camera by threatening to publish their nude pictures or tell their parents.
The sickening scheme was uncovered after Homeland Security Investigations agents got a tip from Interpol that an 11-year-old girl in London reported that a 13-year-old boy named “Cody Mathews” convinced her into performing sex acts on Skype. The girl said she had met the person she thought was a teenage boy on a website called kidschat.net, according to Department of Justice officials.
Smith later acknowledged that he pretended to be a teen boy while chatting on the website and using various usernames. Investigators identified approximately 31 potential victims he contacted and interviewed 19 of them, some of whom were as young as 7 during the chats with Smith.
Smith convinced some young girls to undress and perform lewd sex acts — sometimes including pets or siblings — and then threatened to share the footage if they did not continue, federal prosecutors said.
One of the encounters detailed in court papers obtained by Newsweek reveals that Smith ordered a 12-year-old girl to perform oral sex on her brother, who was also a minor.
The victim later told federal agents she followed the command from Smith because she was “afraid of ‘Cody,’” according to court papers.