A North Carolina man is headed to federal prison for 16 years after prosecutors say he sexually exploited an Oregon 10-year-old using the app that is now known as TikTok.
Andrew Thomas Tager, 32, was sentenced to 16 years and three months in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release. He must also register as a sex offender.
The Department of Justice says that in May of 2018, Tager posed as a female employee of Musical.ly — which was merged into TikTok a few months later. Tager allegedly communicated with the 10-year-old girl.
“He encouraged the child to participate in a fictional ‘crown program’ wherein the child could earn a ‘crown’ by sending the ’employee’ photos and videos of herself. The child believed earning a crown would give her access to various privileges on Musical.ly not available to other users,” the DOJ said in a statement.
Tager allegedly told the child to send him pornographic images and videos of herself using an instant messaging app. Tager also threatened to release the items she sent him if she quit the program, prosecutors said.
The girl’s parents found the explicit items on the her phone and reported it to law enforcement. Tager was arrested in May 2019 and ultimately charged with production and attempted production of child pornography.
Tager pleaded guilty in June, the DOJ said.
Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.