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Portland Man Faces Federal Charges for Using Instagram to Sexually Exploit Children Online

PORTLAND, Ore.— On June 7, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging a Portland man for using Instagram to persuade children to produce and send him sexually explicit photos of themselves.

Solomon Dean Cook, 18, has been charged with sexual exploitation of children, attempted sexual exploitation of children, receiving child pornography, and possessing child pornography.

According to court documents, Cook first came to the attention of federal law enforcement in January 2022 when the parent of a minor victim in Portland called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center (NTOC) to report that an Instagram user had persuaded their child to produce and share a sexually explicit photo of herself. The user threatened to distribute the image if the child did not continue producing and sending more images.

In follow-up interviews with investigators, the minor victim identified a second child in Portland who had been victimized by Cook. She told investigators that Cook posted nude photos of both children on his Instagram stories.

After receiving the tip, federal agents traced two Instagram accounts to Cook and identified his Portland residence. On May 11, 2022, agents executed a federal search warrant on the residence. During the search, Cook confessed to enticing the reporting minor victim to produce the sexually explicit image and to exploiting additional victims in the same manner. Cook was arrested and made his first appearance in federal court the same day.

Cook will be arraigned on the indictment on June 10, 2022.

If convicted, Cook faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison with a 15-year mandatory minimum, a life term of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. He may also be ordered to pay restitution to his victims.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by FBI Portland’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF). It is being prosecuted by Mira Chernick, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. Child sexual abuse material depicts actual crimes being committed against children. Not only do these images and videos document victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when shared across the internet, child victims suffer re-victimization each time the image of their abuse is viewed. To learn more, please visit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website at www.missingkids.org.

The FBI CETF conducts sexual exploitation investigations, many of them undercover, in coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. CETF is committed to locating and arresting those who prey on children as well as recovering and assisting victims of sex trafficking and child exploitation.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Justice Department to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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