A Burnsville man was sentenced June 27 to 20 years in prison for producing child pornography using Instagram and X-Box, announced Erica H. MacDonald, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota.
Marcus Alexander Hinkle, 22, pleaded guilty last September to two counts of producing child pornography. He was sentenced before Judge Susan Richard Nelson in U.S. District Court in St. Paul.
Court documents say Hinkle worked at a school for a community organization that involved working with youth, the Pioneer Press reported.
Hinkle’s LinkedIn profile lists his most recent employer as the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the newspaper reported. A spokeswoman for the YMCA confirmed that Hinkle worked for the organization for a brief period of time, but said he was no longer employed there. She added that Hinkle passed a background check before he was hired, the newspaper reported.
“Sextortion crimes such as this are prevalent and often victimize the most vulnerable in our society, children,” MacDonald said in a news release. “This office will continue to use all available resources to prosecute and prevent these devastating crimes.”
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and court documents, from May 2017 through July 2017 Hinkle used several Instagram accounts he created under various names, including “Nation_Of_Nerve,” “Nation_Of_Nerve_VIP,” and “Globalspamnation,” to contact and communicate with minor males. Hinkle also used an X-box to communicate with the minors and to obtain sexually explicit images. Hinkle falsely represented to the minors that he was 15.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and court documents, Hinkle contacted one boy via Instagram and, through the course of their online conversations, HINKLE pressured the boy to send sexually explicit images and videos. Between late June and early July of 2017, Hinkle used the first boy to be “introduced” to a second, and after approximately one week of communicating online, asked the second boy to send to him sexually explicit images and videos via Instagram. Hinkle continued to pressure the boy for more sexually explicit images and videos and threatened to post sexually explicit pictures of him in a group chat if he did not comply.
Hinkle sent out a group chat message that contained sexually explicit pictures of the second boy. Hinkle admitted to engaging in the same conduct with other minors.
He victimized more than a dozen minors.
The case was investigated by FBI and police departments in Eagan and Warren, Michigan.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. attorneys offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please www.projectsafechildhood.gov.