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A Catonsville man has pleaded guilty to federal charges of sexually exploiting children and cyberstalking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced Oct. 21.

According to his plea, 22-year-old Bilal Mohammad Siddiqui used LiveMe, Snapchat, Kik and FaceTime to coerce at least six girls between the ages of 8 and 14 into sending him sexually explicit images and videos of themselves between April 2017 and August 2018.

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Siddiqui also attempted to extort one of his victims, a sixth-grader who refused to produce additional sexually explicit videos of herself, according to his plea. After she refused, he sent images that the victim had previously shared with him to her classmates and friends.

Siddiqui used a photo of a young boy as his profile picture to misrepresent his identity and age on LiveMe, a live-streaming video app, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was alerted to Siddiqui’s LiveMe account after he and other viewers coerced a 13-year-old girl to expose herself on a live broadcast. Siddiqui communicated privately with the victim through FaceTime and text messaging, and instructed her to send him sexually explicit videos and images privately.

The victim “complied with his instruction and sent Siddiqui at least one picture of herself,” according to a release issued by the Maryland district’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. During private video chats, Siddiqui instructed the minor to remove her clothes and write his first name on her skin next to her genitalia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The Baltimore County Police Department identified Siddiqui after viewers reported the LiveMe broadcast involving the 13-year-old girl, and officers executed a search warrant at his home Sept. 5, 2018. Neither the U.S. Attorney’s Office nor a Baltimore County police spokeswoman could confirm how county police were able to identify Siddiqui.

County police could not comment on the case after it had been turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a spokeswoman said.

Investigating officers discovered evidence on Siddiqui’s phone that he had sexually exploited a 9-year-old girl at the time the warrant was carried out. Siddiqui admitted to those officers that he had instructed the 13-year-old to send him explicit pictures, and estimated he had about 10 sexually explicit videos of minors on his phone at the time.

Siddiqui told police that he had “caused more than 10 but fewer than 50 minor females to do sexual things on video,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Records associated with Siddiqui’s online accounts were obtained by law enforcement and showed threatening messages that Siddiqui sent to an 11-year-old sixth grader in South Carolina after she refused to continue sending explicit pictures, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Pretending to be a 15-year-old boy, Siddiqui threatened to expose the victim’s previously sent photos to her classmates if she did not comply. Siddiqui circulated those pictures to the victim’s friends. When the 11-year-old told her school guidance counselor about the coercion, “school administrators conducted a brief investigation to ensure the images had been deleted, but did not contact law enforcement,” the release stated.

The victims were from Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Siddiqui faces between 15 and 30 years in federal prison if the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland accepts the plea agreement, which was reached Oct. 18. Siddiqui’s sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 24.

An attorney representing Siddiqui was not available for comment.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey J. Izant and Paul E. Budlow are prosecuting the case. Investigations were handled by Baltimore County police and the FBI.

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