An 18-year-old man accused of sometimes posing as a female to induce at least six underage boys to send him lewd photos pleaded not guilty today.
Jackson Roland Westermeyer was arrested Wednesday and held in lieu of $250,000 bail, Huntington Beach police Lt. Mitch O'Brien said. At today's arraignment, his bail was set at $200,000.
Westermeyer was picked up on a warrant charging him with one count each of meeting a minor to commit lewd conduct and extortion of property by force or fear and five counts of possession or control of child pornography, all felonies. He is also charged with five misdemeanor counts of child annoyance, according to court records.
Westermeyer is accused of using various social media sites to lure underage boys with explicit photos, O'Brien said.
Westermeyer allegedly used the Kik Messenger application to solicit photos from minors, O'Brien said. When questioned Dec. 20, Westermeyer allegedly admitted to detectivies that he would solicit and exchange explicit photos, O'Brien said.
Westermeyer tried to meet one boy but was unsuccessful, O'Brien said.
The charges include allegations regarding six victims, 11-13 years old, Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke said.
Huntington Beach investigators, however, suspect there are 10 victims, 11-15 years old, O'Brien said.
Police recovered 1,700 conversations from the Kik Messenger app on the defendant's smartphone, O'Brien said. Westermeyer is suspected of contacting the victims through social media platforms as Kik, Oovo, Instagram, Facebook and Skype, O'Brien said.
Westermeyer's alleged screen name was "KatKat7777," and he would sometimes identify himself as a female named Jesse, O'Brien said.
Westermeyer also is accused of threatening to tag the lewd photos of alleged victims on other social media outlets if they did not send him more photos, O'Brien said.
Anyone with more information about the case or who suspects they were victimized was urged to call the Huntington Beach police at (714) 375-5066. Anonymous tips may be made by calling Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP- OCCS, or (855) 847-6627.
Police and local school officials will be meeting with parents, guardians, teachers and children to warn them about avoiding sexual predators, O'Brien said.
-- City News Service