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Mascoutah man gets 35 years for child porn, online extortion

MASCOUTAH, Ill. – Dubbed a “prolific sextortionist” by the office of the US Attorney of Southern District of Illinois, a Mascoutah man was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison on child pornography and extortion charges.

According to court documents, Joshua Breckel obtained sexually explicit images and videos from dozens of underage girls throughout the United States and internationally via social media and messaging apps like Facebook, Instagram, LiveMe, Kik, and Snapchat. This went on from early 2016 until July 8, 2018.

Breckel, 21, would persuade girls to send him nude images by either feigning a romantic interest in them, by offering them money, or by threatening them. The girls would send him images via Snapchat, an app known for deleting messages and pictures shortly after they’re received. However, Breckel would use screen recording software to capture and save the nude pictures.

Prosecutors said Breckel would then blackmail and extort the girls by threatening to send the images their families unless they agree to send him additional nude pictures or videos.

Breckel would trade these images and videos with other internet users via the Kik app.

Police became aware of Breckel in April 2018, when a 15-year-old New Jersey girl reported to her mother that she was being threatened on certain social media apps. Local authorities were able to track the usernames on those apps to Breckel’s home in Mascoutah.

Breckel admitted to his crimes and pleaded guilty in April 2019. Among his victims were three 15-year-old girls in California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, a 12-year-old girl from Illinois, and a 10-year-old girl from Ohio. Breckel also admitted during trial that he threatened to kill the Ohio girl if she didn’t send him naked pictures of herself.

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