PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A 31-year-old North Smithfield registered sex offender who allegedly posed as a 17-year-old during explicit Instagram communications with two young teenage boys living in Florida has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Providence on charges that he allegedly attempted to induce the boys to engage in illicit sexual activity and that he attempted to send the boys obscene materials.
The grand jury returned a six-count indictment on Friday charging Nicholas Sannicandro with two counts of attempted inducement of a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity, two counts of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor, one count of possession and access with intent to view child pornography, and offenses by a registered sex offender.
According to court records, Nicholas Sannicandro was convicted in 2011 in Massachusetts for possession of child pornography and was required to register as a sex offender. Subsequently, he was convicted twice in 2018 in Massachusetts for disseminating matter harmful to a minor.
According to court documents and information presented to court, in May, a woman reported to the North Port, FL, Police Department that an unidentified person had sent inappropriate sexual communications to her 13-year-old son via an Instagram account with the name “Jackasslures”, a fishing-related online site. The woman also reported that her son had received a package containing a fishing lure sent by a person associated with Instagram account. North Port Police determined that the account belonged to Sannicandro, and that the 13-year-old learned of the online site from a 14-year-old middle-school classmate. The 14-year-old allegedly had been communicating with “Jackasslures” since late January 2021.
According to court documents, a North Port law enforcement officer assumed the online identity of the 14-year-old and began communicating with “Jackasslures” in an undercover capacity. The officer stated to “Jackasslures” that he had just turned fourteen and that he would be travelling to Warwick in June. “Jackasslures” allegedly sent the undercover officer images of himself, of the inside of his boat, and of himself wrapped in a blanket on the boat with the caption of “I’M COZY IN MY BED ON. MY BOAT[.]” He also sent an invitation to go out on the boat to go night-fishing. During further online communications, Sannicandro allegedly sent a sexually explicit image to the undercover officer and a live video while performing a sex act on himself.
Sannicandro was arrested at a Warwick marina on June 22, where he was allegedly expecting to meet with the 14-year-old. The meeting had been arranged by the North Port, FL, undercover officer posing online as the boy.
The indictment of Nicholas Sannicandro is announced by Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus. A federal indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted as charged in the indictment, Sannicandro faces statutory penalties that include a minimum of 10 years – up to life in federal prison.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John P. McAdams.
The matter was investigated by the FBI and North Port, FL, Police Department, who, along with the Rhode Island State Police, members of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and Warwick Police arrested Sannicandro in Warwick on June 22.