Joseph Aaron Reese, 31, admitted in federal court Wednesday that he posed online as a talent scout, solicited young girls to send him compromising pictures and at least once made good on a threat to post a naked photo a girl had sent him on her MySpace page.
Reese — who said he has two children, 5- and 2-years-old — pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography before U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mel Hyde said the mandatory minimum sentence is five years. The maximum is 20 years. He remains free on bond pending his sentencing, which has not been scheduled.
According to Hyde, Reese created two profiles on the online social networking website MySpace and pretended to be a talent scout between June and August 2009. He offered contracts to girls younger than 18 and solicited pictures from them.
Never miss a local story.
After some time, Reese would ask for more graphic pictures, the prosecutor added.
“The defendant occasionally used intimidation to obtain the photos,” Hyde said.
One time, Reese said he’d tamper with the family finances of a girl. In another, he said he’d issue subpoenas. Reese promised one girl he could and would post naked pictures of her to a MySpace account if more pictures weren’t sent, Hyde said.
“On at least one occasion, the defendant made good on his threats,” Hyde said.
Reese got pictures from girls in Covington, Ga., New Jersey, Florida, Texas and Washington, the prosecutor added.
On Nov. 5, 2009, an FBI agent interviewed Reese, who told the agent that he’d created the fake MySpace accounts. The agent saw e-mails in which Reese had told a girl to photograph herself while engaging in sexual acts with her boyfriend. Reese then told the girl that he’d upload the pictures to her MySpace account if she didn’t send him more photos, Hyde said.
Land then asked Reese if what Hyde had said was correct. Reese said it was.
Reese was arrested in May and initially charged with possession, receipt and production of child pornography. The possession and production charges were dropped.
Defense attorney Richard Hagler, who represents Reese, asked Land to allow his client to remain out on bond until his sentencing. Hyde said he had no objection.
“I believe he’s a looker, your honor, not a doer,” Hyde said.
After asking a few more questions, Land allowed Reese to remain out on bond but he required that Reese’s parents must be present for Reese to meet with his children. Also, Reese must pay for electronic monitoring.