A man hailing from Canton was arraigned today on charges he allegedly extorted teenage girls with sexual images of themselves in an attempt to get them to send him more graphic photos.
Destin Whitmore, 22, was indicted in February by a federal grand jury on five counts of extortion, one count of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity, three counts of distribution of child pornography and five counts of possession of child pornography.
According to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, a teenage girl from Arizona said she was contacted in April 2012 through a social networking site by a man who used the name Ralph Jenkins.
The person using the profile, later determined to be Whitmore, allegedly sent the teen "compromising images of herself and threatened to send those images to others, including her family members, if she did not immediately create additional images for him," according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney Northern District of Georgia's Office.
A follow-up investigation of the profile found another profile under the name of Lenny Carlington was also used by Whitmore, along with his own social media account, to allegedly send sexually graphic images of numerous girls to these children in an effort to extort them for more images.
If the teens did not comply, Whitmore allegedly threatened to send the images to other people and post them onto websites for the public to see.
Yates said many of the victims had known Whitmore through personal relationships or communicated with him over a long period of time through the use of web cameras.
"This defendant preyed on teenage girls and attempted to extort them to create and send him pornographic images," she added. "He threatened to post compromising images of the girls on the internet and to send them to their friends and family. This is a stark reminder of the need for parents to talk with their children about internet safety."
The case is under investigation by the Cobb County Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and assistant United States Attorney Jill E. Steinberg is prosecuting the case.