FBI agents raided a Troutdale home late Friday evening and arrested a 19-year-old resident on charges of sexual exploitation of children and receipt of child pornography, officials said Monday.
The FBI said its investigation of Anthony Lozowski began late Thursday, when agents received a tip from a partner agency that involved the alleged ongoing exploitation of a child.
On Saturday, agents sought and obtained a federal criminal complaint from a federal magistrate judge charging Lozowski with sexual exploitation of children and receipt of child pornography.
The complaint details Lozowski’s interview in which the FBI said he admitted to using a social media platform to sexually exploit children by getting them to produce and send him sexually explicit images and videos of themselves.
In at least one instance, a victim reported that Lozowski extorted her – telling her that he would share images of her with people she knew unless she traveled to meet him for sex.
At this time, agents said they have identified and contacted two alleged minor victims, and those children are now receiving appropriate victim resources. This investigation is in the earliest stages, and agents are working to determine whether there are other potential victims.
Lozowski made his initial appearance Monday in Portland before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo , who ordered his detention pending further court proceedings.
What is sextortion?
Sextortion begins when a predator reaches out to a young person over a game, app, or social media account. Through deception, manipulation, money and gifts, or threats, the predator convinces the young person to produce an explicit video or image. When the young person starts to resist requests to make more images, the criminal will use threats of harm or exposure of the early images to pressure the child to continue producing content.
What can parents do to protect their children?
Often children and teens are so concerned that they will get in trouble or lose their devices, that they are reluctant to come forward. It’s up parents to develop that open, honest line of communication. Start with some short conversations, and ask:
When you are online, has anyone you don’t know ever tried to contact you?
What would you do if they did?
Why do you think someone would want to talk to a kid online?
Why do you think adults sometimes pretend to be kids online?
Has anyone you know ever sent a picture of themselves that got passed around school?
What do you think can happen if you send a photo to anyone—even a friend?
What if that picture were embarrassing?
Finally, consider using what you’ve just learned to start the conversation. “Hey, I heard this story on the news today about kids getting pressured to send pictures and videos of themselves to people online. Have you heard anything like that before?”
What to do if sextortion has already taken place:
If your child discloses that he or she is the victim of sextortion, report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at https://tips.fbi.gov.
If you are a victim and not ready to talk to the FBI yet, go to a trusted adult. Tell that adult that you are being victimized online and need help. Remember, you are not the one in trouble. Criminals will try to make you feel unsure, scared or embarrassed. Your willingness to talk to a trusted adult, though, may just be the key to keeping this predator from hurting someone else.
More information: Students, parents and educators can find more tools and information on the FBI’s website at https://www.fbi.gov/stopsextortion