(Update: Adding online alias 'David Brown'; Sgt. Janes comment, video)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A judge raised the bail to $5 million Wednesday for a 41-year-old Bend man who allegedly posed as a teenage boy online to seek explicit photos from dozens of girls around the country over a period of at least four years.
Keith Lauren James Fyten was arrested last fall on a 95-count indictment and nationwide warrant at Chicago's O'Hare Airport as he returned from the Netherlands, heading back to Bend, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies revealed Wednesday.
A secret Deschutes County Circuit Court indictment of Keith Fyten, filed last September, was unsealed Wednesday, listing 28 counts of luring a minor and 67 counts of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct. The indictment alleges incidents between July 2014 and May 2018.
Fyten was booked Tuesday into the Deschutes County Jail, with initial bail set at $500,000. Deschutes County Circuit Judge Randy Miller raised the bail amount to $5 million during Fyten's first court appearance on Wednesday afternoon. A plea hearing was set for Feb. 5.
If Fyten is able to post bail, the judge set conditions of his release, including remaining in Deschutes County, forbidding any access to the Internet and wearing a GPS location tracker.
Fyten's alleged online luring efforts included at least 16 underage girls in Central Oregon, over Facebook Messenger, who were asked to send sexually explicit photos or videos of themselves, sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Jayson Janes said, adding that the name Fyten used was "David Brown."
Janes said parents should talk with their children about the dangers of social media.
“You can be anybody you want to be online," Janes said. "Unless you know that person, you don’t know if they are a teenage boy or a 40-year-old man.”
"Sit down and talk with them, and let them know that anybody can be anyone online. And unless they know them, they don't necessarily know who they are speaking with."
The investigation dates back to October 2017, when the sheriff’s office received a report of sexually explicit photos of underage girls being distributed, Janes said.
Investigators found that three girls under the age of 16 had been communicating with a male subject on Facebook, two of whom believed he was the other girl’s boyfriend. One of the girls received explicit photos from the male, and all three were asked to send explicit photos to him as well.
Sheriff’s detectives learned that neither girl had ever met the male in person, only having contact through messaging or video calls – and during the video chats, the male’s camera was blacked out to keep them from seeing him, Janes said.
Detectives obtained internet service provider and Facebook information that led them to Fyten, who they learned had moved to the Netherlands in November of 2018.
The detective kept looking through Fyten’s social media history and found he’d communicated “with numerous underage females throughout the United States,” portraying himself as a teenage boy, and also sharing explicit photos of a younger male in those exchanges, the sergeant said.
Several law enforcement agencies around the country were asked to help locate and interview other underage females related to the case, Janes said.
“Numerous” girls were contacted around the country who had similar conversations with Fyten, according to Janes, and had received explicit photos of a younger male while being asked to do the same in return.
Janes said Fyten allegedly received explicit photos from some of the girls he contacted.
“I could not tell you how many victims, for sure,” he told NewsChannel 21. “There are going to be many throughout the U.S. That is why we got the FBI involved.”
Detectives collected enough evidence for a nationwide warrant, and Fyten was arrested last Nov. 17 by Customs and Border Protection agents at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago as he returned to the U.S. “in an attempt to return to Bend,” Janes said.
Fyten was later returned to Oregon by federal marshals. The sergeant said they had kept the indictment sealed and held off on announcing Fyten’s arrest until he was returned to and jailed in Bend.
Janes said the FBI has been assisting sheriff’s detectives throughout the investigation, including coordination with the FBI’s legal attache’ office in the Netherlands.
“The FBI is currently working on identifying other underage girls in the United States,” Janes said, and “also investigating other possible suspects involved in the trading or exchanging of child pornography related to this case.” As a result, he said, more charges are possible in the continuing investigation.