Man told 14-year-old he wanted to ‘cut her open,’ preyed on 200 girls online, feds say

A man used an online persona to prey on hundreds of underage girls, including a 14-year-old who he sent a series of violent messages to, according to federal prosecutors. how about

Andrew Kent, a 22-year-old Manhattan, Kansas, resident, was arrested in June, months after prosecutors said he met the teen over Twitter before the platform was rebranded as X.

Kent told the FBI he “habitually sought out” girls as young as 12 over Twitter, Snapchat and Discord following his arrest, according to an agreed upon statement of facts filed in court April 1.

He’s accused of soliciting and receiving child pornography from at least 200 minors.

In January 2023, Kent introduced himself to the 14-year-old girl from Virginia over Twitter, claiming to be a 20-year-old woman named “Tris,” prosecutors said.

While posing as “Tris,” Kent introduced the girl to “Leo” — another persona he used to trick the girl into thinking he lived in Roanoke, about a 55-mile drive southwest of her hometown, according to prosecutors.

Despite lying about his identity, he was truthful about his age and told the girl “he was interested in meeting her someday in order to ‘take a kid’s virginity,’” prosecutors said.

Then “things took a sadomasochistic turn,” the statement of facts says.

Kent used “cruel and degrading language” in his messages to the girl and told her he wanted to “put her in a cage” and “starve her,” according to prosecutors.

He also told her he “wanted to rape her, knock her out and cut her open,” the statement of facts says.

“After several weeks of chatting,” Kent solicited and received nude photos and videos from the girl, according to prosecutors.

Now, he’s pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of children, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia announced in an April 3 news release.

Kent faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison with a maximum of 30 years, the attorney’s office said.

His defense attorney, Carl E. Cornwell II, told McClatchy News that Kent is “very sad” and has “accepted responsibility.”

Cornwell said Kent and his family are “concerned for the victim and her family.”

He also said Kent never touched the additional 200 victims he’s accused of soliciting online and noted he wasn’t charged in relation to those minors.

Everything the government accused Kent of that he wasn’t charged for took place over a computer, according to Cornwell.

Kent “often used the ‘Tris’ persona to meet minors online because he found that it was easier to get minor girls to talk to him,” prosecutors said.

Once he met a minor girl “with whom he wanted to continue communicating,” he introduced them to himself, or “Leo” as he did with the 14-year-old, the statement of facts says.

He had told the girl “she needed to call him ‘Daddy,’ ‘Sir,’ or ‘Master,’ and then warned her that he might punish her if she failed to do so,” according to prosecutors.

By the time Kent was arrested in June, he had deleted “his pornography cache” involving images of underage girls, according to the statement of facts.

It’s up to a judge to decide how many years in prison he’ll get, Cornwell said.

“This case demonstrates the importance of knowing not only what your children are doing online, but also with whom they are communicating,” U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said in the release.

“Pursuing justice for victims of child exploitation is one of our highest priorities,” Stanley M. Meador, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond division, said in a statement.

Kent’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 10, court records show.

Manhattan, Kansas, is about a 120-mile drive west from Kansas City.

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