Accused child porn ‘sextortionist’ indicted in Yates County Court

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express

PENN YAN – A New York State Police and FBI investigation into an online "sextortion" scam targeting students in at least two Yates County school systems in December 2018 has resulted in the arrest of a Buffalo man.

State Police arrested Jameel Collins, of Buffalo, May 1 on a Superior Court warrant for three counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child (class D violent felonies) and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. 

Collins allegedly used social media to coerce minor children in Yates County to send him images and videos that included sexual conduct by a child. According to the Penn Yan Central School District, the online predator apparently created numerous fake social media accounts, befriended students online, and used those relationships to coax the kids into sharing personal information and private photos. Then he used the information to allegedly "blackmail" the students into sharing additional photographs and details under threat that the pictures and details already shared would be made public.

The investigation was initiated by Penn Yan School Resource Officer Jeff Stewart of the Penn Yan Police Department, and completed by the State Police and the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, in conjunction with the Yates County District Attorney’s Office. However, the investigation is still ongoing.

Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella and Penn Yan Police Chief Thomas Dunham do not believe Collins has any local connections in Yates County. Dunham added, "I'm glad we were finally able to track this person down."

Collins was arraigned before Yates County Judge Jason L. Cook in Yates County Criminal Court May 4, where he entered not guilty pleas and was remanded to the Yates County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail, $20,000 fully secured bond, or $40,000 partially secured bond. The case was then adjourned for motions and a conference.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, so-called "sextortion" is the fastest growing online threat against children. The agency says anyone who asks a child to engage in sexually explicit activity online should be reported to a parent, guardian or law enforcement immediately.