U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Andrew Neal, of Hallsville, Missouri, was charged by criminal complaint with production, receipt, and distribution of child pornography, as well as cyberstalking. The charges carry a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum of 30 years, and a $250,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, in July 2018, Neal initiated a conversation with a minor female victim, living in the Western District of New York, on Instagram and asked her to send him pictures of her feet and face. After the victim complied with the defendant’s request, Neal demanded that she produce and send him sexually explicit images of herself or else he would send the images she previously sent to him to all of her Instagram followers. The victim complied and sent Neal the requested images. Over the next two years, the defendant continued to harass the victim through Instagram and text message, demanding that she take and send him more images or else he would distribute the sexually explicit images she previously provided to him to all of her Instagram contacts. In July 2020, Neal followed through with his threats and sent several images of the victim to four of her Instagram followers.
Neal made an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and was detained.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.