Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that Nevada, Mo., man was charged in federal court Tuesday, March 11, with the sexual exploitation of a child after he assumed a false online identity as a woman and persuaded a teenage girl in Georgia to provide pornographic images of herself and to engage in illicit sexual activities.
Curtis Bowman, 42, Nevada, was charged in a criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield. Bowman remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Friday, March 14.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, law enforcement officers in Cobb County, Ga., were contacted by the victim’s mother. She told officers that her 16-year-old daughter, identified as ”AS,” was involved in prostitution and had been communicating over the Internet and via cell phone texting with a person who scheduled “dates” for “AS” to have sex with adult males. This person requested “AS” to send nude images of herself, which she did, for the purpose of sending these images to the potential “dates.”
Georgia law enforcement officers identified Bowman and on Friday, March 7, local law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Bowman’s residence, where he was arrested.
Bowman told officers that he portrayed himself as a female on the Internet and had met “AS” online. They later exchanged e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers so they could continue to communicate. While speaking to each other, the conversation turned sexual and at Bowman’s request, “AS” sent him several pornographic images of herself. Bowman also requested webcam sessions of “AS” where she would masturbate for him. Bowman never actually spoke with “AS” by phone or on webcam, he told officers, because then she would know he was not female. He told her his webcam was broken. Bowman stated he also sent “AS” nude images of his ex-wife that he portrayed as himself.
Bowman told officers that he decided to set up “dates” for “AS” and would live vicariously through her. Bowman admitted to sending both non-nude as well as nude images of “AS” to these individuals. They sent Bowman nude images of themselves, which Bowman sent to “AS.” Bowman set up four “dates” for “AS,” one approximately every two weeks. He admitted to watching one of those “dates” via “AS’s” webcam. He said “AS” snuck the male subject into her bedroom while her mother and brother were asleep.
Dickinson cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kelleher. It was investigated by the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Cobb County, GA., Police Department and the FBI.
Project Safe Childhood
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”