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Illinois man indicted in child porn case

Ferris

A Jackson County grand jury indicted a man from Illinois Tuesday for allegedly coercing girls to send sexually explicit images through Facebook and Facebook Messenger, according to a press release from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team reportedly received a report from a local minor about the man, and an investigation showed the suspect may have had 29 minor victims throughout the United States and Canada.

Police worked with Homeland Security Investigations to identify the out-of-state victims and build the federal case, the release said.

The suspect, Michael Anthony Ferris, 43, of Mill Shoals, Illinois, was charged with three felony counts of using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct and coercion. The charges stem from a report the sheriff’s office took May 8, 2020, about an alleged sex offense in the Rogue Valley.

“The mother of a minor child victim reported her daughter came in contact with an unknown suspect posing as a friend on Facebook,” the release said. “Using threats and intimidation, the suspect coerced the juvenile to send him nude photos.”

Police said Ferris allegedly victimized many other minor children, including a victim in Salem.

Ferris allegedly used electronic devices and interactive computer services to transmit threatening communications to girls and young women across the U.S. and Canada, with the intent to extort digital images, videos or webcam video of the victims in various states of undress and engaging in sexually explicit conduct, the release said.

The suspect used a number of different names on Facebook and Facebook Messenger, including Sammy Gray and Sarah Mansfield, police said.

Ferris is jailed in Illinois on 27 felony counts, including sexual exploitation of a child younger than 18, attempted sexual exploitation of a child younger than 18, distribution of child pornography, interstate extortion and cyberstalking.

Police asked anyone with information about the suspect to call your local law enforcement agency or the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 541-774-8333.