A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Ryan Behar with attempted sexual exploitation of a child. The charges relate to sexually explicit live streamed and recorded depictions that the defendant requested from a minor whom he targeted on Instagram. Behar was arrested today and will make his initial appearance via videoconference this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrest and charge.
“As alleged, Behar misused social media in an effort to lure an underage teenager into having sexually explicit communications with him,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “This Office will continue to make every effort to protect minors and hold to account those who contribute to their victimization.” Mr. DuCharme extended his grateful appreciation to the FBI Violent Crimes Against Children Squad for its investigative work, the New York City Police Department and the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance on the case.
“Predators are appallingly aggressive in targeting society’s youth. If you think your child or teen is shielded from this type of predator, who can quietly target your child without ever having to physically enter your home, please think again. Do you know who your children are interacting with online? Have you asked? Adults did not grow up with this type of threat. Technology has changed, and we need your help educating and protecting our children,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “We believe Mr. Behar had contact with many more victims, and we are urging those victims or their parents or guardians to call us at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or reach out for us online at tips.fbi.gov.”
As set forth in court filings, beginning on September 13, 2020, Behar, age 42, falsely claimed he was a teenage boy and engaged in a series of sexually explicit communications with the 16-year-old victim. Using an Instagram account, Behar repeatedly messaged the victim requesting that the victim create pornographic videos, photographs and live visual depictions. These communications occurred between September 2020 and October 2020. During these communications, Behar also sent the victim sexually explicit images he represented to be of himself and directed her to perform sexual acts while participating in video calls.
The charge in the complaint is an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of attempted sexual exploitation of a child, Behar faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of 30 years in prison.
This prosecution is 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section. Assistant United States Attorney Garen S. Marshall is in charge of the prosecution.
Staten Island, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-MJ-293