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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Man Charged with Using Internet to Coerce Girls into Sexual Activity

Tony Jefferson Browne, 30, of St. Thomas was arrested Tuesday and charged with using the Internet to coerce and entice three female minors to engage in sexual activity, according to Ronald W. Sharpe, U.S. attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands.

During an initial court appearance, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller ordered Brown held without bail Wednesday pending a detention and preliminary hearing, Sharpe said.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court, Browne contacted the three girls on Facebook, developed a friendship with them, and then persuaded them to send him nude photos of themselves. After receiving the photos, Browne allegedly threatened to place the minors’ nude photos on the Internet if they did not have sex with him.

If convicted, Browne – a self-employed plumber – faces a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard Potter.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children can be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-202-514-5678, or to Homeland Security Investigations at 1-340-693-2250.

Sharpe reminded the public that a criminal complaint is merely a charging document and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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