jury finds Sand Springs man guilty of attempting to coerce 13-year-old into having sex | USAO-NDOK
A federal jury found a Sand Springs man guilty on Friday of sending hundreds of sexually explicit messages to an underage male and touching the child in a sexual manner, U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said.
Jeremy Nicholas Botonis, 44, was found guilty of one count of coercion and seduction of a child and an account of abusive sexual contact in indian country.
“Jeremy Botonis was a predator on the prowl. He gained the trust of a vulnerable child and then exploited him for his own sexual gratification,” US Attorney Clint Johnson said. “The victim in this case displayed incredible strength while testifying in federal court this week. He is to be commended along with our law enforcement partners and Federal Prosecutor Chris Nassar for ensuring that Botonis is held accountable for his predatory crimes.
“Too often, deviant individuals like Botonis use social media to gain access to minors and build trust only to exploit them,” said Christopher Miller, Acting Special Agent in Charge, HSI Dallas. “Through the bravery and testimony of the young victim, the perpetrator has been brought to justice, starkly reminding predators who sexually exploit children that HSI will never waver in our collective law enforcement efforts to protect our citizens. most vulnerable.”
On August 24, 2019, while in the woods, Botonis inappropriately placed his hand on the underage, clothed victim’s thigh and what the victim described as his “private space.” Then he attempted to kiss the victim while the two were in the woods. When the child rejected his advances and walked away, Botonis grew angry and feared the child would reveal what had happened to his parents. He later stood over the victim and told him to delete previous messages between the two associated with Botonis’ name and Facebook account, knowing that those conversations would incriminate him. He continued to pressure the child to delete the messages, and the victim finally relented.
After the incident, Botonis continued to communicate with the victim using a Facebook page called “Wolf Page”. Several weeks later, the victim’s father discovered sexually explicit messages sent to the victim by “Wolf Page”. The victim told her father that the page belonged to Botonis and revealed that Botonis had tried to kiss her in the woods while out. The child’s parents reported the crime to the authorities. During the investigation, the child further disclosed to law enforcement that Botonis had also touched him inappropriately on the day of the incident.
Federal agents were eventually able to extract messages from the victim’s cell phone and discovered 5,000 messages related to the case. Starting in May 2019, Botonis began grooming the victim by sending increasingly flirtatious and suggestive messages on Facebook Messenger. Hundreds of sexually suggestive messages from Botonis have been recovered where the accused discussed the child’s appearance, professed his “love” for the victim, made sexual innuendos, described sexual acts and further suggested that the two should engage in the “furry lifestyle”, which for some is a sexual fetish of dressing up in animal costumes and performing sex acts. At one point, the victim indicated to the accused that she was uncomfortable and that she did not want to receive any more sexual messages.
At trial, federal prosecutors argued that at the time of the crime, Botonis was a 41-year-old man obsessed with a vulnerable 13-year-old child, bombarding the victim with messages almost daily and even blaming the victim when he didn’t. not responded in kind. Prosecutors argued that while Botonis was trying to present himself as non-threatening and trustworthy, he was actually a predator lurking in the shadows, waiting for a vulnerable victim and the right time to engage. Prosecutors then asked the jury to hold Botonis responsible for the crimes he committed against the child.
The jury returned guilty verdicts within two hours. Sentencing is tentatively set for September 2022.
The case was initially charged in Mayes County District Court but was dismissed in April 2021 due to lack of jurisdiction based on the Supreme Court’s decision in McGirt vs. Oklahoma. The U.S. Attorney’s Office then took the case to federal court in May 2021.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and the Mayes County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Nassar and Stephanie Ihler prosecuted the case.