Cattaraugus woman took photos of child then shared pics online, while pretending to be her victim

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BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Melanie Thompson, 46, of Cattaraugus, NY, pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography before U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey T. Fiut, who is handling the case, stated that between January 9, 2017, and March 6, 2020, the defendant took sexually explicit photographs of Victim 1, a minor, in furtherance of her plan to impersonate Victim 1. Thereafter, the defendant, while impersonating Victim 1, engaged in conversations of a sexual nature with two minor male victims (Victims 2 and 3) and one adult. During those conversations, the defendant: solicited a sexually explicit picture from Victim 2; sent, via social media, the sexually explicit photograph she had taken of Victim 1 to Victim 3, receiving two sexually explicit images in return from Victim 3; and while impersonating Victim 1 and engaging in sexual conversations with an adult male over social media, sent such male the sexually explicit photographs she had taken of Victim 1.

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The plea is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly, and the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Timothy S. Whitcomb.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 17, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Sinatra.