This story has been updated.
A 36-year-old out-of-state man has pleaded guilty to the distribution of child pornography in connection with a Fairfield County case.
Brian Grinnell, of Lakewood, Ohio (near Cleveland), pleaded guilty on Monday, April 19 in Hartford for posting nude videos of a 12-year-old New Canaan girl on a popular video-sharing service, said Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in March 2020, Grinnell posed as a 15-year-old girl and met a New Canaan girl, who at the time was under the age of 12, on Omegle, an online chat website and mobile application that allows users to interact with strangers.
Shortly thereafter, he began communicating with the minor victim on Snapchat. Grinnell told the minor victim to take sexually explicit photos and videos of herself and send them to Grinnell over Snapchat. After the minor victim began to feel threatened by Grinnell, she unfriended and blocked Grinnell’s account, said the US Attorney's Office.
Grinnell subsequently contacted a friend of the minor victim on TikTok and stated that unless the minor victim got in touch with him, he would post a video of the minor victim naked on TikTok, the criminal complaint said.
Grinnell then posted sexually explicit videos of the minor victim on TikTok.
When a friend of the minor victim, who is also a minor, begged Grinnell not to post additional videos of the minor victim, Grinnell stated “I want a video of you begging me to not put them up. And you have to be topless in the video. If you don’t want any more of your friend stuff going out.”
After the friend told Grinnell that they would call the police, Grinnell responded “How are they gonna find me?”
Grinnell then proceeded to post another video of the minor victim on TikTok.
Authorities were notified and the New Canaan Police Department participated in a joint investigation with the FBI.
"The facts of this case should serve as a cautionary warning to all parents that social media poses certain risks for our children," said New Canaan Chief of Police Leon Krolikowski. "Investigating crimes against children is one of my Department’s highest priorities."
He also thanked the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office, for their tireless work in finding justice for vulnerable victims.
Grinnell has been detained since his arrest on Sept. 23, 2020.
When sentenced in July, Grinnel faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.