HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Police Thursday announced the arrest of an Orange County man for using social media to prey on juveniles.
Jackson Westermeyer, 18, was arrested Wednesday on 12 felony charges and was being held on $250,000 bail, according to Huntington Beach police.
Authorities began investigating Westermeyer in mid-December after they received information that he was using the Kik Messenger app to solicit photos from underage victims.
The suspect later admitted to soliciting and exchanging lewd pictures with multiple victims.
“Westermeyer also admitted to arranging a meeting with John Doe #1, although the meeting never occurred,” detectives said.
Further investigation revealed over 1,700 different conversations stored in the Kik app on his phone.
“It is believed Westermeyer has used several different social media platforms such as Kik, Oovo, Instagram, Facebook and Skype to contact juveniles” under the user name “KATKAT7777”.
Police said the suspect often identified himself as a female by the name of “Jesse”.
“After Westermeyer received lewd photographs from individuals, he would later extort them; threatening to ‘tag’ their lewd photographs on other social media outlets,” officials said.
Detectives were able to identify 10 victims ranging in age from 11 to 15 years old.
“It was discovered during the investigation that these messages have been occurring for at least the past year,” according to police.
The Huntington Beach Police Department believes there maybe additional victims. Anyone who has had contact with the suspect or with anyone on social media using the screen name KATKAT7777 or using the alias “Jesse” is asked to contact the investigators at (714) 375-5066.