Berea man accused of contacting several children pressuring them to send him sexually explicit images
BEREA-A Berea man has been charged with sexual exploitation of children and receiving child porn after he allegedly contacted several children between the ages of 12 and 15 and coerced them into sending sexually explicit images.
According to an affidavit, 24-year-old Cody Swinnerton controlled multiple accounts and targeted minors on Instagram and Facebook.
The Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force received a tip about his alleged actions and started their investigation.
Authorities say Swinnerton contacted the victims’ friends and family to pressure the victims into producing more images. Further investigation revealed potential victims in Ohio, Tennessee, Iowa, Texas, Australia, Austria, and France.
A search warrant was executed on January 25 at Swinnerton’s home. Relatives said Swinnerton was on vacation in Australia at the time. A review of his computer revealed several images of child pornography.
“This case demonstrates how predators will target our children over social media,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said. “Parents and trusted adults need to make it their business to know who their kids are communicating with. We will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to prosecute these predators.”
“This case is a disturbing reminder that international borders are no longer a hindrance for online predators,” said Steve Francis, special agent in charge of HSI for Michigan and Ohio. “However, this arrest should assure victims around the world that Homeland Security Investigations and our partners in the international law enforcement community are committed to aggressively targeting those engaged in these heinous acts.”