Crime

Mascoutah man asked teen girl for topless photos through her GoFundMe, police say

Federal program targets online child predators

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.
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The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.

A Mascoutah man received pornographic photos online of a toddler and solicited photos of underage girls topless, an affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court for Southern Illinois states.

Joshua Breckel is set to stand trial in January in Benton on charges of receiving child pornography and interstate communications with intent to extort.

Mascoutah police were contacted in May by detectives in New Jersey, where a 15-year-old girl said a man had contacted her through her GoFundMe fundraiser. The suspect offered her $2,500 for her robotics fundraiser in exchange for a topless photo that included her face.

The girl sent him topless photos of himself, records stated, but hesitated when he sent subsequent requests for photos that included her friends.

Mascoutah detectives said thousands of images on the suspect’s phone, computer and external hard drives were of nude images of underage girls. Some of those photos were apparently traded in a messaging app. One image was of a child about 2 to 3 years old.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also assisted in the investigation.

Breckel was arrested in July and ordered to remain in jail to ensure community safety.Among other reasons cited was evidence that he had raped a 9-year-old family member, court records stated. He has not been formally charged in connection with that allegation.

Reporter Mary Cooley follows the crimes and court goings-on in the metro-east; she has a special affinity for the oddities that make life in Southern Illinois interesting. Mary has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia and previously worked as a copy editor at newspapers in the Southeast.


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