Man Indicted in St. Louis on Child Pornography, Cyberstalking Charges

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

ST. LOUIS – A man from Hawaii appeared in U.S. District Court in St. Louis Wednesday to face charges accusing him of stalking teens online and distributing child pornography.

Gerardo Javier Montes, 31, was indicted July 27 on one count of distribution of child pornography, one count of attempted production of child pornography and one count of cyberstalking. He was arrested in Hawaii July 29 and arrived in St. Louis on Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday.

The indictment alleges that Montes distributed child pornography online on Dec. 8, 2021. It also says between Dec. 6, 2021 and Jan. 15, 2022, Montes tried to persuade a 14-year-old girl to send him nude pictures of herself by threatening to post nude photos of her that he had already obtained, and then did so when she refused.

In a detention motion, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Bateman said that in addition to the Missouri teen, Montes targeted a 17-year-old in Oklahoma, a 16-year-old in Texas, a 13-year-old in Hawaii, a 26-year-old in California and other, as-yet-unidentified minors.

Montes found some of his targets online, in chat rooms or messaging boards discussing suicide or depression, the motion says. He also pretended to be a young girl to get other young girls to send him child sex abuse material, the motion says.

The case was investigated by the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Bateman is prosecuting the case.   

 

Officials say the number of cases of sextortion have been rising. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has more information, including tools to protect children and others from becoming victims.