ATLANTA, Ga. – A sexual predator victimized dozens of girls across the country, some as young as 12, from his home in Georgia.
Edward “Eddie” Okenica admitted he used SnapChat and Instagram to solicit sexually explicit photographs and videos from dozens and dozens of young girls.
Officals say he offered the children gifts and other tokens to entice them into sending sexually explicit photos. Once he had these photos, he used them to pressure the girls into performing sexually humiliating acts.
“Okenica victimized dozens of girls as young as 12 years old from his home,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “He is a sexual predator who exploited the vulnerability and fragility of his victims by relying on the relative anonymity of social media platforms. This case is a reminder that sextortion remains a huge threat to our youth and to their families and parents need to remain vigilant to guard against it by monitoring their children’s social media activities.”
Investigators were able to identify 36 victims in the United States and overseas. They estimate Okenica coerced around 100 children to send him child pornography.
Okenica pleaded guilty to eleven counts of producing child pornography on March 5, 2020. A judge sentenced him to 28 years in prison on September 17, 2020.
“The Internet can be used for education, entertainment, collaboration, or it can be a place where criminals and predators lurk waiting to pounce on unsuspecting users. That’s how Okenica used it. He spread his filth, victimizing countless innocent children, all the while thinking he was safe,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Cases like this show these predators that there is no hiding from justice and HSI and its partners will work tirelessly to find and prosecute them.”