The same day Facebook claimed it was proud it had no legal cases involving registered sex offenders or members who met a minor on the social networking site, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported police accused a teen of using the site to extort nude photos and blackmail students into performing sexual favors.
The Waukesha County district attorney's office announced multiple charges against 18-year-old Anthony Stancl on Wednesday. Police and prosecutors accuse him of copying Facebook photos and using them to pretend he was a female so he could lure male students to send him nude photos. Once he had the photos, Stancl told the male students that the girl would release the pictures to the rest of the school if they did not perform sex acts on him, police said.
So far, police believe Stancl obtained nude photos of 31 teen victims and they said that he coerced at least seven of the boys into sex acts in school bathrooms, a parking lot and in some victims' homes.
The criminal complaint states that some of the boys were abused repeatedly. Stancl faces up to 293 years in jail if convicted on all counts, a judge said.
Police said they discovered the scheme while investigating a bomb threat, which led them to Stancl and his computer. At the same time, one victim reported abuse after Stancl asked for nude pictures of the victim's brother, police said.
Stancl's computer contained more than 300 photos and video clips of the local boys in 39 folders named after the victims, and they found twice as many "professional" movies featuring child pornography, authorities told the newspaper.
The court set bail at $250,000 and prohibited Stancl from using any devices capable of accessing the Internet. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26.
Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Wednesday, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal criticized social networking sites for failing to take steps like confirming identities and ages to keep children safe.
Facebook responded by issuing a statement, saying it has "devoted significant resources to developing innovative and complex systems to proactively monitor the site and its users, including those not on a sex offender registry, for suspicious activity (such as contacting minors or users of predominantly one gender)."