18-Year-Old Faces Possible 70 Years in Federal Prison for Snapchat Sexting Crime
Let’s say you’re a 17-year-old boy asking two 16-year-old girls to sext you on Snapchat—well, that’s pretty normal these days, right? Let’s agree that it is.
Now, let’s say that you possibly paid the girls for their sexts, and then allegedly threatened to expose them unless they sent more of them. That’s not normal. It’s obviously immoral, probably illegal, and quite simply wrong.
But are you knowingly creating child pornography and transmitting it across state lines?
That’s what Eric Beyer Jr., of Hutchinson, Kansas, is accused of. He faces up to 70 years in federal prison.
“I’m not saying that I don’t think my son should be punished for that,” says Jessica Meloney, Beyer’s mother. “Absolutely, he should know what he did was wrong and should get in trouble. I’m not saying my kid should get nothing. Even if you want to give him five years, I’m okay with that, because I know he’ll never do it again. But to take an 18-year-old kid and put him in jail for longer than he’s been alive?”
When Beyer was 17, he made a fake account on Snapchat and started contacting girls about his same age. He was in high school at the time. The FBI became aware of his activity in June of 2021, probably because one of the girl’s parents found out what he was doing and brought her phone to the authorities. But the FBI waited until September, a month after Beyer turned 18, to act.
Then, at about 4:30 a.m., a SWAT team raided the house where Beyer lived with his dad and brother, and handcuffed all three, according to his mother, who is divorced and lives in Pennsylvania. Then they put Beyer in the cruiser for questioning. He was read his Miranda rights and responded, “I understand.”
When questioned, Beyer said that yes, the Snapchat account was his, and no, he wasn’t sharing it with anyone. He asked if his father could be there with him, but the agents said he was old enough to be alone. Then they told him, “We need your password.” Unaware that he could refuse, Beyer gave it to them, whereupon they opened his account and put him under arrest, according to his mother.
Beyer has been in jail awaiting trial ever since. His
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