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Indianapolis man charged with child porn in Facebook blackmail plot

By Susan Guyett

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - A 23-year-old Indianapolis man was charged on Thursday with child pornography, rape and coercing minors into sexually explicit conduct after he allegedly engaged in a year-long "sextortion" scheme on Facebook.

Austin Williams faces 14 counts in federal court after he posed as a female on Facebook and persuaded teenage women to post explicit self-made images and videos, according to U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett, who announced the charges.

Williams allegedly contacted the young women and told them the only way to prevent the content from going public and being shown to family and friends was to produce more explicit videos and images.

"This case is more than a warning to young people that there are dangers online," Hogsett said. "It is also a warning to those who would engage in such behavior that you cannot hide and you are not truly anonymous. These predators will be found and will be brought to justice."

At least 10 victims were ensnared in Williams' activities, according to Hogsett.

Williams was arrested in January for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old woman. The investigation that ensued uncovered a cellphone that contained hundreds of sexually explicit images at his home.

It was not immediately known if Williams has a lawyer yet.

He faces 15 to 30 years in federal prison if convicted.

(Editing By Brendan O'Brien. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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