WICHITA, KAN. - A Kansas man pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges of sexually exploiting minors, according to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister.
Austin Ballew, 21, Cherryvale, Kan., pleaded guilty to five counts of sexually exploiting a child and three counts of sex trafficking of a minor. In his plea, Ballew admitted he used Facebook to pose as an African-American teenager or young man to communicate with minor females in southeast Kansas towns. An investigation began when a victim's parents contacted the Independence (Kansas) Police Department. Investigators learned that Ballew, calling himself Deandre Johnson, was soliciting other minor females for sex acts and child pornography.
Ballew offered victims money and marijuana to send him sexually explicit videos of themselves. He also threatened victims that he would make their videos public unless they kept cooperating with him. Sentencing is set for March 23.