Middletown man accused of coercing underage girls to provide sexual material online, feds say
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WXIX) - A Middletown man is in jail after he was arrested on charges alleging he exploited and coerced child victims online, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
William Scott Elam, 52, is accused of connecting with an estimated 20 minor females via online chats and apps, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parkers said.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint in July 2023, the FBI in Milwaukee was made aware of a potential 12-year-old victim through a report to law enforcement, a news release said.
U.S. Attorney Parker says the victim and Elam allegedly met through a free online chat called Omegle.
They then exchanged contact information on the Discord app and began chatting, Parker said.
“Elam allegedly pretended to be a 14-year-old male and coerced the child victim to send him live sexual material by telling her that he would log off Discord and cut himself if she did not comply,” the news release said.
“It is alleged that Elam also pretended to be a 14-year-old cousin to his other persona. Using the second persona, he allegedly coerced the victim into sending new live sexual content by threatening to show ‘his cousin’s mom’ her previous encounters with Elam.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says it is alleged that Elam told one victim to self-harm via cutting on live video in addition to coercing the victim to perform sex acts live on camera.
Dave Hatter, a cyber security consultant with Intrust IT, said those who exploit underage girls often use platforms like Omegle because it’s easy to hide their identity.
“Discord kind of got its start as a platform for gamers,” Hatter said. “You create a Discord “server” about some topic, you can invite people and then you can chat in there and do video, audio and that sort of thing.
Hatter said the pattern of abuse often starts with someone getting a child to do something they can hold over their head in order to subject them to extortion and abuse.
“The sick thing is they get them to do the slightest bad thing and it becomes extortion,” Hatter said.
Hatter recommended parents familiarize themselves with the parental controls offered by cellular providers. He said there are also software products that can help block children from bad content on the internet like Net Nanny and Circle.
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