A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned an indictment today charging a former FBI contractor with sexual exploitation of children.
According to court documents, Brett Janes, 26, of Arlington, Virginia, allegedly contacted roughly a dozen minor boys over Discord and Snapchat. He allegedly groomed the minors by telling them he worked for a U.S. intelligence agency before repeatedly threatening suicide if the minors did not continue to communicate with him. Janes allegedly enticed one victim, a 13-year-old boy whom he met through the first-person shooter game Valorant, to strip and masturbate over a live video Discord call by threatening to kill himself and by paying him money over CashApp. He allegedly enticed a 12-year-old boy to create and send him child sexual abuse material (CSAM) over Discord through flattery and repeated begging.
Janes allegedly received child sexual abuse material from these two minors, as well as two separate minor victims, and attempted to meet up with a minor. He also allegedly purchased hundreds of videos and images of child sexual abuse material from Telegram.
Janes is charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of children and production of CSAM, one count of attempted coercion and enticement, and one count of receipt of child pornography. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; and Arlington County Chief of Police, Charles “Andy” Penn, made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney McKenzie Hightower is prosecuting the case.
Any individuals who believe they or someone they know may have been victimized by Janes are encouraged to contact the FBI at 202-278-2000 and ask to speak to the child exploitation and human trafficking task force.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.