Two unrelated and different cases, according to federal authorities, but both are highly disturbing.
And, in southern Indiana, a 39-year-old man is accused of what prosecutors call "sextortion," luring teenagers to perform exotic dances in front of their computer webcams and then threatening to distribute the video if they didn't do even more.
Federal agents say Richard Finkbiner met teenage boys from Michigan and Maryland on webcam chat sites and talked them into showing body parts. Finkbiner secretly recorded the images and then allegedly threatened to distribute the pictures if the teenagers didn't perform far more lurid and graphic sex acts.
In the federal complaint, Finkbiner is quoted as telling teenagers, "I'll add your name and email so if anyone googles u they will see ur video."
"We have reason to believe, from statements made by Mr. Finkbiner, that there may be as many as 100 victims or more that have been potentially sexploited in the techniques used in the two cases in Michigan and Maryland," said U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett.
The FBI found more than 1,000 images when Finkbiner was arrested in Brazil, Indiana, about an hour southwest of Indianapolis. He was taken into custody at the rural internet service company where authorities say Finkbiner worked and lived. In an embarrassing coincidence, among the websites Finkbiner's firm hosts is CityOfBrazil.com.
Federal prosecutors released Finkbiner's mugshot because they believe that from southern Indiana he could have victimized teenagers in numerous states and may have operated the largest online sexual extortion of children in the country.
In the other case, a Chicago man is charged with forcing two minors and two adults to cross from Wisconsin into Illinois for "commercial sex acts." The accused operator of the sex slave ring, Carl "Moo" Smith, will appear at a detention hearing on Thursday in Chicago district court.
Since 2000, there has been a sharp increase in arrests of those involved in the child sex trades, especially Internet-based crimes, where federal prosecutions more than tripled in 10 years. Because the cases have strong visual evidence and electronic fingerprints, many end in plea bargains.