A 21-year-old Minnesota man received a 35-year sentence after pleading guilty to child pornography and extortion charges.
Dylan M. Deling, of Fairmont, pleaded guilty in mid-July and was sentenced Monday in St. Paul, with U.S. Attorney Erica McDonald saying the 35-year prison term is the result of Deling's "depraved criminal behavior" in which his "victimization went beyond sexual exploitation; his ultimate goal was to instill fear and humiliation."
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Deling, who is also known as "Jason Keens" and "Dylan Nash," used Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Skype, text messages and other social media accounts to prey on young victims and exploit them through sextortion.
Sextortion is described by the U.S. Attorney's Office as the "act of extorting sexually explicit images and videos from a victim by threatening to reveal a victim’s sexually explicit chats, images, or videos, or through threats of harm to the victim or the victim’s loved ones."
Deling pleaded guilty to sextorting 40 girls between the ages of 11 and 17.
An FBI-led investigation revealed that Deling used multiple usernames and accounts to get the victims to send him pornographic images. The USAO release says Deling would compliment girls and use "expressions of affection" to "persuade them into creating sexually explicit images of themselves."
Many times, Deling threatened – and sometimes followed through on threats – to send sexually explicit images to the victims' family and friends if they didn't send more images.
He's also accused of threatening to send "his associates" to rape, kidnap, injure or kill the girls or their loved ones if they didn't send images. He sent the victims information to prove that he knew where they lived, thus enhancing the reality of his threats.
"No sentence can wipe away the scars and irreparable harm those heinous actions leave on child victims. This should send a strong message to anyone considering exploiting our most vulnerable citizens," said Aubree M. Schwartz, acting special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis field office.
Deling pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography and one count of interstate communication with intent to extort.