An Eaton County man who used several aliases online to get sexually explicit photos from minors, pleaded guilty in federal court last week.
Police and prosecutors say 52-year-old Kevin Konen used social media sites to pretend he was a girl in high school and then befriended both girls and boys to manipulate and encourage them to take sexually explicit photos of themselves.
Konen now faces up to 40-years in prison for charges including sexual exploitation of minor and possession of child pornography. He’s currently in federal custody.
In federal court last Thursday, Konen admitted to creating several fake Facebook accounts and communicating with kids through messenger.
On Monday, the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Michigan issued a news release on Konen’s guilty plea, saying that he used numerous aliases and “schemes” on social media platforms.
“Using the “Jenny Mays” alias, Konen manipulated minors and then encouraged them to take sexually explicit images of themselves,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said. “Konen also used the alias of “Alyssa Pietrzak” to contact minors. Using this persona, Konen aggressively extorted minors and demanded that they send him sexual images or “Alyssa Pietrzak” would send compromising pictures to the victim’s family and friends.”
According to the news release, Konen also directed the victims to contact “Denny Ha” who could help the victims remove their pictures from internet websites.
“But to do so “Denny Ha” needed user names and passwords for their accounts,” Birge said. “Once he had access to the accounts, Konen would search the victims’ accounts for compromising pictures.”
The investigation into Konen launched back in January of 2016. The Michigan State Police worked with the Grand Ledge Police Department to investigate the claims.
The 52-year-old was arraigned in an Eaton County courtroom just a few days after his arrest on September 7th. He was charged with several crimes, many of which are similar to those he pleaded guilty to. That case is still pending.
When 6 News talked with the Michigan State Police about the case in September, MSP Lt. Lisa Rish said some of the victims were students at Grand Ledge High School.
While the total number of those who have come forward has not officially been released, Lt. Rish said there were many of them.
“I will tell you that it is more than we can count on our finger and toes,” she said. “It’s quite a few girls at this time.”
According to police, Konen was participating in this scheme from 2011 up until this year and had communications with numerous underage kids not only in Eaton County, but also outside the state of Michigan.
In the news release on Monday, prosecutors said this case is part of what’s called “Project Safe Childhood,” which is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with prosecutors, police, and many other groups are working closely together to locate, arrest, and prosecute individuals who exploit children.
The group also works to educate local communities about the dangers of online child exploitation and also teach children how to protect themselves.
If you or someone you know may have been a victim of his criminal acts, police are encouraging you to contact the FBI by calling (313) 965-4540.