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College Student Charged In Westchester With Posing As Girl To Lure Boys

Robert J. Garneau, 21, of Orange County in a social media photo before his arrest on federal child pornography charges on Thursday. He was supposed to graduate from Long Island University on Friday. Photo Credit: Provided
The federal court in White Plains where a 21-year-old college student was to appear after his arrest Thursday morning on charges he sexually exploited three children via the Internet. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A 21-year-old college student from Orange County was to appear in U.S. District Court in White Plains after his arrest Thursday on charges of sexually exploiting children.

Robert J. Garneau of Warwick, N.Y., was formally charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office, in a three-count indictment unsealed in a White Plains court on Thursday.

Each charge against Garneau carries a 15- to 30-year prison sentence.

The Long Island University student is accused of posing as a girl named Allison Denario and asking boys for nude photos. Then Garneau would pretend to be Allison's angry boyfriend. He'd claim his father was an FBI agent or police detective, and threatened to have them arrested unless the boys masturbated, performed other sex acts on camera or send more explicit photos and/or video, according to prosecutors.

Garneau was supposed to graduate from LIU on Friday.

Garneau was charged with communicating with three different underage victims online and convincing them to take sexually explicit photographs and send them to Garneau.

The suspect was arrested Thursday morning and was to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith McCarthy in White Plains federal court.

In a press statement, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Robert Garneau’s alleged crimes are the nightmare of every modern parent. Using every day social media websites, Garneau allegedly exploited minors for his own sexual gratification."

According to the complaint:

From September 2014 to December 1, 2014, Garneau communicated online via Instagram and Kik with a then 12-year-old minor from Vacaville, Calif., and convinced the child to take and send sexually-explicit photographs to Garneau.

On July 18, and Aug. 10, 2015, Garneau is accused of engaging in the same online activity with two more minors, prosecutors said.

Garneau reportedly used computer screen names “Raptorr427,” “BobbySixx,” “Allison Denario” and/or “Giannafitz81.”

The prosecution is being handled by Bharara's White Plains Division.

There may be more victims of this alleged conduct. Additional information can be called into a 24-hour tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.

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