PORTLAND, Ore.—A local man has been charged with federal child exploitation crimes after using various social media applications, including Snapchat and TikTok, to stalk and sexually exploit a minor victim from Australia, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.
Jorge Rosales, 25, of Beaverton, Oregon, has been charged by criminal complaint with sexually exploiting children, distributing and possessing child pornography, cyberstalking, and enticing a minor online.
“This case demonstrates the extraordinary lengths sexual predators will go to victimize children. It also demonstrates the tenacity and reach of law enforcement when investigating these heinous crimes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Asphaug. “I applaud the incredible investigative efforts of our domestic and international law enforcement partners to identify this defendant and see to it that his ability to victimize vulnerable children across the globe ends immediately.”
“Protecting our children from predators lurking on the internet is truly a global challenge, requiring coordination with our international law enforcement partners” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in the Pacific Northwest. “HSI will continue to pursue online predators that exploit popular apps such as Snapchat and TikTok to lure innocent children.”
According to court documents, in April 2021, a special agent from HSI received an investigative referral from INTERPOL and the Australian Federal Police related to the sexual exploitation of a then-nine-year-old victim in Australia. According to the Australian authorities, in 2016 or 2017, an individual later identified as Rosales began communicating with the minor victim using Musical.ly, a social media application now known as TikTok. Rosales claimed he was a 36-year-old male named Alex.
Over a period of months, Rosales engaged the minor in a series of progressively more sexually explicit conversations even after the minor told him she was nine years old. Rosales sent the minor sexually explicit photos and videos to demonstrate how she could engage in various sex acts. These materials included photos and videos of older men having sex with toddlers and young girls. Rosales encouraged the victim to produce and send him sexually explicit photos and videos of herself. When the victim declined, he threatened to turn her friends and family against her, and, in at least one instance, sent her photos of animals beaten until injured. Eventually, the minor victim sent naked photos of herself to Rosales.
Rosales later began communicating with the minor victim using Snapchat, wherein he would send her videos of himself masturbating. He claimed he could see where the victim lived on Snap Map, a Snapchat feature where users can see the location of various Snaps, and threatened to come get her if she didn’t continue sending him explicit photos. These threats prompted the victim to send Rosales additional naked photos and videos, which she produced at his request.
Eventually, after receiving many similar requests from Rosales, the minor victim blocked Rosales’ accounts. In response, over a period of several years, Rosales created and used dozens of new social media accounts to stalk and torment the minor victim. Rosales began following several of the victim’s friends on TikTok. On one occasion, one of the victim’s friends followed a link posted by Rosales that led to a website displaying photos of young naked girls. The website included some of the photos the minor victim had sent to Rosales several years earlier.
Australian investigators obtained and sent to HSI the TikTok subscriber record for the first account Rosales used to communicate with the minor victim. This record included IP addresses later matched to Rosales’ mobile phone and Beaverton residence. Investigators from HSI searched the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline Reports and found 13 reports connected to Rosales’ mobile phone and home internet connection. These reports indicated that Rosales had used several social media platforms, including Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, to distribute photos and videos depicting child sexual abuse to other users between September 2019 and November 2020. HSI investigators also discovered a parallel investigation into Rosales’ conduct being conducted by the Hillsboro Police Department.
Rosales was arrested on April 21, 2021, and made his initial appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta. He was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.
This case was investigated by HSI and the Hillsboro Police Department with assistance from INTERPOL, the Australian Federal Police, and the Victoria Police in Victoria, Australia. It is being prosecuted by Gary Y. Sussman, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. It is important to remember child sexual abuse material depicts actual crimes being committed against children. Not only do these images and videos document the victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when shared across the internet, re-victimize and re-traumatize the child victims each time their abuse is viewed. To learn more, please visit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at www.missingkids.org.
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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.