A Castine man who used social media as a way to engage with a minor, including sending her explicit photos, is sentenced to prison.

How Did This Happen?

Nicholas Wood, 26, was charged with transferring obscene material to a minor, attempting to possess child sexual abuse material, and obstructing a federal investigation. He was sentenced on Friday in a Bangor courtroom to 84 months in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. Wood pleaded guilty in April of last year.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, District of Maine, it was during the summer of 2018 when Wood used Snapchat to send a series of obscene images of himself to a then-12-year-old girl, tried to manipulate the child into engaging in sex acts with him, and asked her to send him sexually explicit photos. When he learned that federal agents were looking into the use of his Snapchat account to send obscene images to minors, Wood deleted the application and associated data from his phone to prevent its use in the investigation.

Is This Type of Abuse Common?

This case serves as an excellent reminder to parents to pay attention to their children's use of social media and who they're talking with. Limit their exposure to social media sites and talk to them about what is and is not appropriate.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children CyberTipline received 32 million reports of suspected child exploitation, including over 80,000 reports of online enticement of children for sexual acts. That's an increase of 82% from 2021 to 2022. Experts with the NCMEC say victimization can take place across every platform, including social media, messaging apps, gaming platforms, and others.

Who Do You Call If You Or Someone You Know is a Victim of Sexual Abuse?

If you're in Maine and you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or abused, you can get help by calling the free, private 24-hour statewide sexual assault helpline at 1-800-871-7741.

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