GRAND RAPIDS — A Kaleva man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for sexual exploitation of a child, conspiracy to sexually exploit a child, coercion and enticement, and possession of child pornography.
Warning: the details of this case are disturbing
The government alleges that Richard Anthony Reyna Densmore was involved in creating a chat room on Discord that encouraged minors to self-harm and engage in sexual activities.
One example: “cutting” or “fansigning,” in which cuts another’s username into their skin.
Densmore allegedly had photos and videos of minors engaging in these activities on his phones.
During the hearing, evidence was also introduced of Densmore’s affiliation with online networks that exploit minors, similar to the Discord chat room.
The FBI has issued a public service announcement that these groups target marginalized children and children with mental health issues. They livestream or share videos of minors self-harming or committing sexual acts, and use that content to extort the minors into harmful acts.
“As the allegations in this case demonstrate, the online threats to our children and teenagers evolve and grow every day,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Perpetrators can reach kids anywhere, anytime, with devastating effects on our families and communities.”
Densmore’s alleged sexual exploitation offenses each carry a sentence of between 15 and 30 years’ imprisonment. The coercion and enticement offense carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison. Possession of child pornography carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
The grand jury’s indictment is an accusation against Densmore. He has not been found guilty in a court of law.
U.S. Attorney Mark Totten advised that parents should look for unexpected packages, as members of these abuse and extortion networks are known to send children razor blades, sexual devices, and other materials to use in creating online content. The FBI further advised the public to take a number of precautionary steps, including:
Looking for fresh cuts, bruises, wounds, and scars in unusual patterns;
Looking for sudden behavior and appearance changes;
Being attentive to children wearing long sleeves or pants in unusual circumstances;
Monitoring children’s online activity and discussing the risks of sharing information and content; and
Running frequent online searches of family and children’s information to help identify and prevent the spread of personal information on the internet.