Man pleads guilty to sexual exploitation of minors

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 26, 2016

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — United States Attorney Barbara McQuade — joined by West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton and representatives from the FBI — announced Jan. 13 that an Ontario man had pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting two minor girls. 

Antonio Fontana, 58, of Ontario, Canada, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation, including the unlawful coercion and enticement of the two girls, the production of child pornography and the extortion of the girls using the Internet.

Because one of the victims resides in West Bloomfield, the West Bloomfield Police Department began investigating the case in January 2014.

Through his plea, Fontana confessed that in October 2013, he was posing as a 16-year-old boy on a website called www.Omegle.com and began communicating with a 15-year-old girl. He then coerced a girl into performing sexual acts on a daily basis in front of a webcam, which he recorded, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office. 

Fontana reportedly told the victim that he would post the recordings on the Internet and send the videos to her friends and family if she did not perform sexual acts for him. The press release states that the victim attempted to end communications with Fontana in December 2013, but Fontana continued to contact her and her mother. In January and February 2014, Fontana sent the images of the victim to her mother, her school and her church. 

“Initially, we had a difficult time tracking this person through the IP address he was using. We were finally able to determine where he was located because he made a small mistake that we caught,” West Bloomfield Deputy Police Chief Curt Lawson said. 

West Bloomfield police contacted the Durham Regional Police Service in Ontario, Canada, and Durham regional police officers executed a search warrant of Fontana’s house. Evidence showed that there were more victims, not only in the United States, but across the globe, Lawson said. 

Canadian officials arrested Fontana, and an FBI liaison assisted with extraditing him to the United States. It took about two years to extradite him, Lawson said. 

Fontana admitted that he had victimized more than five girls, the press release states.

Fontana has been detained since his arrest and arrived in the U.S. following extradition from Canada. He faces a sentence of at least 15 years and up to life in prison. 

“The phenomenon of ‘sextortion,’ where child predators use the Internet to extort children to pose for pictures and engage in sex acts online, is a growing problem,” McQuade said in the press release. “Predators entice young people to pose for compromising pictures and then use shame to silence the victims from seeking help.” 

John Conard, attorney for Fontana, could not be reached for comment by press time.

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