BOSTON – A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Boston to receiving child pornography he extorted from a minor over Snapchat.
Chayanne Nieves, 24, of Lowell, pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for Sept. 21, 2022. Nieves was arrested and charged in August 2021 and has remained in custody since.
“Mr. Nieves committed a heinous crime that victimized a young, innocent child. For that, he now faces federal prison,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “The dangers of internet and social media anonymity remain prevalent, but my office is determination to protect the safety, innocence and wellbeing of our children. In collaboration with our law enforcement partners, my office will stop at nothing to identify and hold predators like this defendant accountable – regardless of where they try to hide. That is a promise.”
“Nieves, already a registered sex offender, harassed and threatened a child online, using fear to extort her—a scenario becoming all too common,” said Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “Cases like this are every parent’s nightmare, but with this plea, Nieves is off the streets. HSI continues to work tirelessly to uncover internet predators like Nieves and, with the help of our partners, keep our kids safe online.”
“This case serves as a reminder that predators continue to target and exploit our children online. It’s important for patents to be active participants in their young children’s online lives, to speak with children about the potential dangers present on the internet, and to alert the authorities to any potential suspicious or criminal conduct. The Vermont State Police commends the members of law enforcement who investigated and prosecuted this case. We are grateful for these partnerships across state lines and among local, state and federal agencies that help keep our communities and our corners of cyberspace that much safer for everyone, especially our children,” said Major Dan Trudeau, Commander of the Vermont State Police’s Criminal Division.
From around Nov. 30, 2020 until Dec. 3, 2020, Nieves communicated on Snapchat with an 11-year-old child in Vermont. During those communications, Nieves threatened and extorted the victim to send him nude photographs of themself. During a search of Nieves’s residence in Lowell, Nieves confirmed that the Snapchat account used to communicate with the child was his. Nieves is a Level 3 registered sex offender.
Based on Nieves’s criminal history, the charge of receipt of child pornography provides for a sentence of at least 15 years and up to 40 years in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
U.S. Attorney Rollins, HSI SAC Millhollin and Major Trudeau made the announcement. Assistance was provided by the Lowell Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Dell’Anno of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse.