A 45-year-old man posed as young male pop stars online, hoping to convince teen girls to share pornographic pictures and videos of themselves, police said.
John Eastman mainly posed as Harry Styles from the band One Direction, using the screen name Harry.Styles888. However, he used several screen names, pretending to be different celebrities, including Justin Beiber, police said.
“He had tapes of the guys in concerts that he would show to add to his credibility,” said Acting Deputy Chief Chris Corbett.
Eastman is in custody with bail set at $500,000. He was arraigned Thursday in Superior Court in Waterbury on charges of risk of injury to a minor, first-degree possession of child pornography, misrepresenting age to entice a minor, enticing a minor by computer, promoting a minor in obscene performance and employing a minor in obscene performance.
Eastman has admitted to eliciting photographs, video and live webcam video from the girls by promising them concert tickets and in-person meetings, Corbett said.
A forensic review of his computer found 500 images and video of child pornography, some of which had been sent by the girls Eastman targeted online.
Most of the images were of girls in their early teens, although some were of victims were as young as 5, Corbett said.
Police were alerted to Eastman in November of 2012 by authorities in Vermont, who investigated a complaint of a person trying to get a young girl to perform a sex act online. They traced the activity to Eastman in Waterbury.
Waterbury police took over the investigation.
Eastman fled to Virginia during the police investigation, but was captured two weeks ago by U.S. Marshals and was extradited, Corbett said.
By Hilda Muñoz, The Hartford Courant