CRIME

Utah man sentenced to 25 years of prison for coercing, enticing minors on the internet

Jan 11, 2023, 5:24 PM
[FILE] Jail Handcuffs (KSL-TV)...
[FILE] Jail Handcuffs (KSL-TV)
(KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man pleaded guilty to coercing and enticing minors on the internet across the U.S.

On Monday, 34-year-old Landon Germaine of Woods Cross, Utah, was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment and supervised release for life after agreeing to a plea deal, according to the United States Attorney’s Office District of Utah.

The investigation began on Nov. 26, 2018, when the Bentonville, Arkansas Police Department received a complaint from a parent that her 11-year-old daughter had explicit photos and videos of herself, according to court documents.

While reviewing the footage on the phone, the parent notes to Bentonville police that the illicit images were also on the social media applications Snapchat, Periscope, and Kik. Police found the girl was not posting the illicit images but another account that a person identified as “Germaine” was using at the time.

The child was interviewed but denied taking the images and videos of herself and claimed she didn’t have a Kik account.

A forensic extraction was performed on the phone and revealed a Kik chat log created by the girl where she added Germaine, according to court documents. Germaine added several other accounts to the chat.

The analysis showed that Germaine posted illicit images on the Kink chat. The girl told the chat that she was around 15 years old.

Further analysis of the phone showed that Germaine previously recorded the images and videos on Snapchat, according to court documents. In January of 2020, the mother discovered the girl was communicating with Germaine again under a different user name on Telegram, Snapchat, and Periscope.

According to court documents, the mother attempted to speak to the chat through her daughter’s account, which made Germaine suspicious. After chatting with Germaine, an unknown person removed the illicit videos from the Periscope.

Bentonville police interviewed the girl, who was 12  at the time. During the interview, she admitted to uploading illicit videos and photos of herself on Periscope after a Telegram group showed her the app. Users would ask her for the illicit images and offer to send her money and gifts for them, according to court documents.

The girl told police she knew that the main person, Germaine, was from Salt Lake City, Utah, and they were involved in the Telgram and Periscope groups.

Another forensic extraction was performed on the girl’s phone, revealing that she and Germaine were in contact in 2019 through Telegram, according to court documents. The chat shows Germaine was maintaining the Telegram group and was asking for the illicit images from the pre-teen girl, knowing she was underage.

An administrative subpoena to Kik linked the email address Germaine used to his account. Further investigations linked the email to Germaine’s phone number, social media, and possible address in Woods Cross, Utah.

Police also compared a selfie that Germaine sent to the girl to his driver’s license and believed the two were the same person.

After concluding that Germaine was their suspect, investigators executed a search warrant on his home in May 2020, according to court documents. Germaine was arrested without further issue.

During a post-Miranda interview, Germaine admitted to communicating with the girl and was involved in receiving the illicit images from her. He also admitted doing so with several other girls under 18 years old.

According to court documents, the forensic review uncovered over a hundred illicit images and videos from minors in Germaine possession.

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Utah man sentenced to 25 years of prison for coercing, enticing minors on the internet