MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Virginia man was sentenced in Miami federal court Thursday to 50 years in prison for using the internet to target and extort children through sexual exploitation and pornographic offenses, federal authorities announced Friday.

Joseph Isaiah Woodson, Jr., 30, was convicted on three counts of ‘Production of Child Pornography,’ one count of ‘Distribution of Child Pornography,’ one count of ‘Sending Extortionate Threats,’ and one count of ‘Conspiracy.’

Feds say the evidence showed that beginning in October 2017 through September 2018, Woodson. Jr. persuaded, induced, enticed and coerced numerous minor female children across the country to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of that conduct using the camera on their cellular telephones.

Woodson infiltrated the Snapchat accounts of these children by pretending to be one of their friends on social media, authorities said.

Feds say Woodson took over the victims’ Snapchat accounts and demanded sexually explicit videos and images from the children through the web-based texting application “KIK.” Once he received the videos and images, he would give back control of their accounts.

Authorities said Woodson conspired with others to “systematically extort and exploit children using the internet.”

“Child predators beware – anyone who uses social media and the internet to target and extort children through sexual exploitation (“sextortion”) and pornographic offenses risks spending the rest of their lives in prison,” stated U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan.

“We implore the community to help us protect our loved ones by monitoring our children’s social media accounts and reporting all suspected offenses to law enforcement. The U.S. Attorney’s Office stands united with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to root out child exploitation.”

“Joseph Isaiah Woodson, Jr. is a menace who preyed on the most vulnerable among us, children,” said George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami.

“Using social media, Woodson would befriend, then coerce numerous minor female victims to send him sexually explicit videos and images. His sentence of 50 years in prison should serve as a warning to others involved in sextortion.”

Comments