MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ks. — A Cherryvale, Kansas man pleaded guilty today to federal charges of sexually exploiting minors according to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
Austin Ballew, 21, of Cherryvale, Kansas, pleaded guilty to five counts of sexually exploiting a child and three counts of sex trafficking of a minor.
In his plea, Ballew admitted he used Facebook to pose as an African-American teenager or young man to communicate with minor females in southeast Kansas towns.
An investigation began when a victim’s parents contacted the Independence Police Department in Kansas.
Investigators learned that Ballew, calling himself Deandre Johnson, was soliciting other minor females for sex acts and child pornography.
Ballew offered victims money and marijuana to send him sexually explicit videos of themselves. He also threatened victims that he would make their videos public unless they kept cooperating with him.
The sentencing hearing is set for March 23, 2020. The parties have agreed to ask the court for a sentence in a range of 15 to 25 years in federal prison.