Indianapolis Rape Suspect Indicted in "Sextortion" Scheme
Man accused of coercing 10 teenage girls to send him X-rated pictures
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett (left) and Marion County deputy prosecutor Katie Jackson. (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
An Indianapolis man could face more than 300 years in prison on charges of blackmailing underage girls into sending him nude pictures of themselves.
Federal prosecutors accuse Austin Williams, 23, of pretending to be a teenage girl on Facebook and coaxing area girls to exchange photos and videos, then threatening to post the pictures if they didn't send him more. U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett says one victim tried to kill herself after Williams allegedly made good on the threat.
Indy Metro Police arrested Williams in January on charges of setting up a meeting with a 15-year-old victim and raping her. Authorities say a review of Williams' cell phone uncovered the pictures. Prosecutors have dropped the rape charge to allow federal prosecutors to take the lead, but could refile it.
Williams is accused of victimizing 10 girls, one of them as young as 14. He's charged with producing and receiving child pornography, extortion, attempted sexual exploitation, and enticement of a minor. The most serious charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years if he's convicted.