By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Teenager pleads guilty to exploiting minor

Sexploitation case first of its kind with Valdez defendant police say


A Valdez teenager is heading for prison after pleading guilty to a single felony charge of unlawfully exploiting a miner – making child porn.

Charging documents say Jacob Devens, age 18, attempted to blackmail a 14-year-old Oklahoma girl into sending him sexually explicit photos after herself after threatening to expose nude photos of the girl on social media.

“This was a case of social media,” Lt. Bart Hinkle said in an interview about the case.

Valdez police are hoping the case will help parents become more aware of the ever-increasing dangers young people can be exposed to online. For many years, officials have warned parents to monitor their children’s use of computers and online chat rooms, but the Devens case highlights the numerous ways smaller hand-held electronic devises and various social media and photo sharing programs can lead to exploitation.

Hinkle said most of the allegations against Devens were committed using an Ipod, which many adults know only as a music playing device.

The crime first came to the attention of law enforcement in Valdez last November when police in Clinton, Oklahoma contacted Valdez police.

Charging documents say Devens met the victim on the photo sharing and social network website Instagram. He convinced the victim to send him photos of her nude body over the course of several weeks using a second program known as Snapchat, where photos are sent but can only be seen for a few seconds – a kind of like electronic flashing.

However, Devens was using a program police identified as Snapcapture, that takes Snapchat photos and saves the photos the sender believes have been deleted.

When the victim stopped sending Devens Snapchat photos he threatened to post photos already in his possession on her Facebook page and on Instagram if she did not send him more photos.

He sent the victim a photo she thought had been temporary to prove he had her nude photos. She flat out asked him if he was blackmailing her.

“Pretty much,” he replied online, then stated she was his, and demanded she strip, send more photos or Skype right away.

The victim contacted police in her hometown who monitored online threats Devens made as the responding officer was interviewing her.

Devens posted a compromising photo of the victim on her Instagram page with the caption “You can see she’s pretty dirty and a whore for anyone who asks.” He then threatened to post a second photo with the victim’s face exposed.

Valdez police served a search warrant of Devens’ residence and seized several cell phones, computers and other electronic storage devices.

“Our officers did a very thorough investigation,” Hinkle said.

Devens pleaded guilty to the single felony charge of exploiting a minor/child pornography in Valdez on March 25.

Valdez police said Devens will not face further charges from any evidence stemming from the investigation, as per the plea bargain agreement with state prosecutors.

Devens was sentenced by Judge Dan Schally to 10 years in prison, with four years suspended, with felony probation and a 15-year requirement he register as a sex offender.

Valdez police hope the case will become a teachable moment for parents and youngsters alike.

Police have sponsored numerous workshops, training sessions and other outreach events aimed at teens to highlight the dangers of online sharing and social media.

“This was a case of social media,” Lt. Bart Hinkle said in an interview about the case.

The Valdez Police Department is a member of ICAC, Internet Crimes Against Children, a nationwide law enforcement program.

“We are a task force there,” Hinkle said.


Reader Comments

cea writes:

I find it interesting how so many details were left out of this story. Most of this young man's transgressions were done while he was a minor and this young lady participated fully. Maybe a more thorough investigation of the facts should be done instead of simply reading off the police report, which can often omit pertinent details. Additionally, if the Valdez Star considers itself a serious reporter of the news, maybe it should report that true rapists seldom get this type of sentence.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 07/19/2019 15:52