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Pine City Man Charged for Using Social Media to Sexually Exploit Minors

Press Release:


MINNEAPOLIS – A Pine City man has been arrested and charged with soliciting, producing, receiving, and distributing images of child pornography, and enticing a child to engage in illegal sexual activity, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.


According to court documents, since at least January 2019, Caleb Vincent McLaughlin, 26, created and used multiple social media accounts and communications applications to solicit and direct minor girls in Minnesota, approximately 11 to 16 years old, to create sexually explicit images and videos to send to him. McLaughlin used a variety of aliases and Snapchat IDs including “Jake Benson,” “Lift11” or “Tech4cm,” in his scheme, and sometimes purported to be 17 years old to prey on minor girls he met online in order to entice and coerce them to create sexually explicit images and videos. In addition to producing child sexual abuse material, McLaughlin would offer minor girls drugs, alcohol, cash, or gift cards in exchange for sex acts.


McLaughlin, who was arrested yesterday, was charged in a federal criminal complaint with soliciting, producing, receiving, and distributing images of child pornography, and enticing a child to engage in illegal sexual activity. McLaughlin made his initial appearance earlier today before Magistrate Judge Dulce J. Foster. He was ordered preliminarily detained pending a detention hearing. A preliminary and detention hearing is scheduled for July 25, at 9:30 a.m., before Magistrate Judge Dulce J. Foster, in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

To date, law enforcement has identified several minor victims, and is actively attempting to confirm the identity of many others. If you believe you or your minor dependent(s) have been victimized by Caleb McLaughlin, please contact the FBI Tip Line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or tips.fbi.gov.


This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.justice.gov/psc.


This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, with substantial assistance from the St. Paul Police Department, Pine County Sheriff's Office, and Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Hillary A. Taylor is prosecuting the case.




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