TRENTON, NJ (WTXF) - A New Jersey man was sentenced on Friday for coercing a 13-year-old girl he met online into sending him sexually explicit photos of her.
25-year-old Craig L. Wyatt, of Willingboro, N.J., was sentenced to five years in state prison, including more than four years of parole ineligibility. The state recommended a sentence of eight years in prison under the plea agreement, including nearly seven years of parole ineligibility, but the judge imposed a sentence of five years.
Wyatt pled guilty in June to charges of first-degree manufacturing child pornography and third-degree possession of child pornography. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
Wyatt’s charges stemmed from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit.
The investigation revealed that Wyatt allegedly threatened to take the girl away from her home against her will if she did not send him sexually explicit photos of herself. Wyatt was previously convicted of five counts of terroristic threats in Burlington and Atlantic counties for stalking other girls on Facebook and sending them threatening messages. He served over a year in jail and was on probation at the time of the crime for which he was sentenced on Friday.
“We have put this serial predator behind bars so he can’t continue to stalk, terrorize and sexually exploit other young girls,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Wyatt bullied and blackmailed his vulnerable victim over a period of two months, during which he frightened her into sending him increasingly explicit photos of herself. He is every parent’s worst internet nightmare.”
“Police and parents used to worry about predators their children might encounter at the swimming pool, playground or shopping mall, but now that vigilance must extend to the perilous world of the internet and social media,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to make child protection a top priority and diligently pursue sexual predators like Wyatt who strike online.”
“Wyatt intimidated his 13-year-old victim and fueled his perverse fantasy by manipulating her into sending him sexually explicit photos of herself,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This predator will now face time behind bars for his despicable crimes.”
Wyatt was indicted in November 2015 on charges related to the 13-year-old girl, whom he met on Facebook in May 2014. Police say he initially befriended the victim, who said she was 15, flattering her and sending her affectionate texts. After allegedly obtaining one or more nude photos of her, however, he became increasingly threatening.
The state’s investigation revealed that on 10 occasions in May and June of 2014, Wyatt used threats to obtain additional photos of the victim of a more sexually explicit nature.
Police say that during a series of text messages and Facebook messages, Wyatt repeatedly threatened to abduct the girl from her home and/or post the photos of her he already possessed on the Internet if she did not meet his demands for sexually explicit photos. He allegedly said others were going to help him take her away and he was going to impregnate her.
After a concerned relative of the victim learned of the threats, the relative contacted authorities, who investigated and arrested Wyatt in October 2014.
Detectives seized Wyatt’s cell phone, allegedly discovering 36 sexually explicit images of the victim, 34 saved in his cell phone and two saved in his Facebook account.
Authorities are urging anyone who suspects improper contact with children online, as well as possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children, to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.