A Wisconsin man has been charged with possessing and distributing a 16-year-old Gurnee girl’s nude photos to her own family and friends after she stopped communicating with him.
Howard M. Hickey, 56, of the 8500 block of 64th Street in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was charged with three counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of distribution of child pornography, stalking and obstructing an officer.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said that a victim, who lives in unincorporated Gurnee, came to the sheriff’s office in September 2019 to report she was being harassed and stalked online.
Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said that the girl told detectives nude photos of her had been sent to her family members and friends.
The Lake County Sheriff Cybercrimes Unit began an investigation that revealed the victim, who was 16 years old at the time, met someone online in 2016.
“The person she met online claimed to be a 16-year-old boy. The two communicated for several months online and the victim felt she was in a quasi-relationship with the ’16-year-old boy,'” Covelli said.
During their communication, the 16-year-old was enticed to send nude photos and videos of herself to the alleged ‘16-year-old.’ After several months of communicating back and forth, the victim stopped communicating with the person.
The victim received an unsolicited message in 2019 from the person she had previously been communicating with.
“The person threatened her, telling her if she didn’t send additional nude photos and videos, he would send the nude photos he already possessed of her to her family and friends,” Covelli said.
The victim refused to comply and the person, identified as Hickey, then began disseminating nude images of the victim to her family and friends.
Lake County sheriff’s detectives worked with Kenosha Police Department and obtained a search warrant for Hickey’s home on July 1.
Lake County sheriff’s detectives assisted Kenosha police on the execution of the search warrant on July 2. During the search warrant, Hickey attempted to destroy an electronic device, Covelli said.
He was charged and transported to the Kenosha County Jail where he was later released after posting $20,000 for bail.
“I am proud of the collaboration between our detectives and the Kenosha Police Department to identify and arrest this sexual predator,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.
“I cannot stress it enough, sexual predators lurk online and often pretend to be people they are not. Parents, please always check who your children communicate with online and monitor the applications they use,” Idleburg added.