A Twin Cities man will spend at least 15 years in prison for tricking boys into sending him nude photos of themselves.
As part of a deal with federal prosecutors, Anton Martynenko pleaded guilty to multiple child pornography crimes.
According to the agreement he made with U.S attorneys, the 32-year-old Eagan resident admits to posing as a woman online to coerce boys under the age of 18 into sending him nude photos of themselves.
According to a previous news release, in 2011, prosecutors say Martynenko began approaching his victims on social media sites like Facebook with female aliases such as “Marie Anna” and “Courtney Jansgen,” claiming he was a young, lonely woman who'd just moved to Minnesota and needed friends.
The conversations would soon take on a sexual dimension, prosecutors said, with Martynenko sending nude photos of the women he claimed to be and convincing the victims to transmit illicit images of themselves in exchange.
Prosecutors also say Martynenko blackmailed one victim into performing a sex act, and gave another instance where he threatened to release photos after one victim stopped talking to Martynenko. A year later, “the victim learned that his pictures were being distributed via social media.”
Martynenko pleaded guilty to counts of child pornography production, distribution, and advertising child pornography, and the plea agreement indicates that he faces a maximum of 80 years in prison.
According to court documents, Martynenko agrees that there were at least 20 minors "from whom he solicited and obtained child pornography," but in the government's view, the number is more like 178.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Kayser told the Star Tribune the number of victims set this case apart, as most cases like Martynenko's "involve two to six victims on average."