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California Man Used Social Media To Force Wyoming Girls To Make Child Porn

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James Steidl, ThinkStock

A California man digitally blackmailed two Wyoming girls to make child pornography by creating fake female personas on social media then threatened to release nude photos of the girls if they didn’t do what he wanted.

After months of investigation, authorities indicted and arrested Chase McKay Stagner in Chico, Calif., and extradited him to Wyoming earlier this month.

Tuesday, Stagner appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl in Casper and pleaded guilty to two counts — one for each girl — that he “knowingly employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, or coerced a minor” to produce child pornography that he would transmit by computer or other means.

Two other counts of transporting child pornography were dismissed as part of a plea agreement: Stagner would serve two concurrent 15-year prison terms plus 10 years of probation, pay restitution, pay a $5,000 special assessment for a fund to help victims of child sex trafficking, and register as a sex offender.

Skavdahl ordered a pre-sentence investigation of Stagner, adding the court is not bound by the plea agreement.

If Skavdahl rejects the plea agreement at the sentencing hearing set for Aug. 1, the case will go to trial. If convicted on all four counts, Stagner faces from 40 years to lifetime imprisonment.

This case gets really complicated because of intertwined Facebook and Snapchat accounts and Stagner’s multiple female personas.

So be patient.

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On Nov. 28, the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office contacted two agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), according to the affidavit written by one of the agents.

The Sheriff’s Office told the agents that two 14-year-old girls said they were coerced into making sexually explicit images of themselves on Snapchat from August through October. The girls gave authorities their cell phones for examination.

On Dec. 8, the HSI agents met with the girls. In separate interviews they gave consistent stories.

A Snapchat user named “ccrystalcclearr,” or “Crystal,” contacted one of the girls saying they were friends at one time, according to the affidavit.

“Crystal” also said she had nude photos of the girl, adding she would “leak” the nude images to the girl’s family and friends if the girl didn’t comply with certain requests. “Crystal” also said she had nude photos of the other girl.

The first girl said she never sent nude images to anyone, according to the affidavit.

But she was scared, started making nude images of herself and sent them to “Crystal.” The images became more graphic over the following weeks. “Crystal” also friended the other girl, and asked her to make nude images.

On several occasions, “Crystal” coerced the two girls to make videos of themselves having sex with each other. The girls sent the videos by Snapchat to “Crystal,” who would then sent a recorded video back to the girls.

Meanwhile, the girls were friended through Facebook Messenger by a “Nicole Rusch,” who said another Snapchat user named “Sammystags6,” or “Sammy,” was victimized and extorted by “Crystal.” “Nicole Rusch” said “Sammy” could help the girls.

“Sammy” also told the girls she had taken over the Facebook page of “Nicole Rusch.”

There actually were two Facebook “Nicole Roush” identities: “NR35″ and NR104,” according to the HSI agent.

On Dec. 14, the agent obtained a search warrant for the Snapchat accounts of “Crystal” and “Sammy.” She also reviewed the contents of “NR35″ and found that account had distributed three pornographic images to one of the victims in Wyoming.

“NR104″ also had the one of the girls make pornographic videos.

The agent determined “Crystal,” “Sammystags6,” and the two “Nicole Rusch” women were the same person who is Stagner, who lives in Chico, Calif.: The Snapchat account for “Crystal” was registered to an email account of Stagner; his birth date, Sept. 8, 1995, was the same as “Nicole Rusch”; and one “Nicole Rusch” said she lives in Chico.

The agent found other correlations among the Snapchat and Facebook accounts including being logged in from the same Internet Provider address. “Ccrystalcclearr” was registered to Stagner’s email address, too.

She found a conversation between “NR35″ and a Facebook friend “Diamond Holland,” in which “NR35″ said she was in a dating relationship with a male named “Chase.” “Chase” and “NR35″ also have an agreement that “NR35″ is allowed to date other females including having a relationship with “Diamond Holland.”

Likewise, “NR104″ also portrays herself who is in an open relationship with “Chase.”

The agent also found “NR104″ stated she spends half of her time in Chico, and half of her time in Albuquerque, N.M. Stagner’s mother and step-father (who pays for Stagner’s phone) live in Chico. His father lives in Albuquerque.

Finally, she wrote in the affidavit that she could find no “Nicole Rusch” who was born on Sept. 8, 1995, nor anyone with that name in Albuquerque or Chico.

At that, Stagner’s shell game of multiple identities collapsed.

“Based on the information above, I believe that Chase STAGNER has assumed the personas of ‘Nicole Rusch,’ ‘Crystal’ and ‘Sammy’ and has utilized these personas to entice, coerce or persuade minors to produce child pornography,” the agent wrote. “Further, I believe that STAGNER has received and distributed child pornography.”

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