A Koreatown man pleaded guilty Wednesday to two child exploitation charges for convincing teenage girls to send him sexually explicit images, then coercing victims to send more with threats of publishing the images he initially obtained.
Francisco Sanchez, 31, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court to two counts of production of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Each charge carries a 15-year mandatory minimum penalty when he is sentenced Sept. 15.
In a plea agreement, Sanchez admitted that he used websites and computer applications to meet minor girls online. From 2014 through September 2016, Sanchez used the fake name Eddie Nash to pose as a teenage boy and develop romantic relationships with his victims so that he could obtain sexually explicit images and videos from them.
In some cases, Sanchez convinced his victims to engage in sexually explicit conduct during video chats, which allowed him to take pornographic screen shots of the minors. In other cases, Sanchez threatened to commit suicide to coerce the victims into sending him pictures or videos, federal prosecutors said.
After obtaining sexually explicit images from the girls, Sanchez threatened to publish or otherwise expose the victims if they did not send additional images or videos, according to his plea agreement.
Sanchez "intentionally targeted girls that he knew to be suicidal or despondent, because (he) believed they would be easier to manipulate and control," he admitted in the agreement.
While Sanchez pleaded guilty to two counts -- related to victims who were 13 and 14 -- he admitted in his plea agreement that he victimized another five teenage girls.
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Sanchez further admitted that he cyberstalked two victims -- which included threatening to make one girl "internet famous" by publishing child pornography depicting her -- and that he distributed child pornography on a peer-to-peer file sharing network, according to the agreement.