ABINGDON, Va. – A North Carolina man, who used the social media messaging app Snapchat to solicit minors to send him sexually explicit photographs and videos in exchange for expensive gifts, was sentenced Wednesday to 210 months in prison, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Virginia.
According to court documents, Jason Kelly Inman, 41, of Mount Airy, used Snapchat to solicit minor victims living in Grayson County, Virginia, to send him sexually explicit photographs and videos of themselves. Inman targeted at least four minor, male victims, all who resided in Galax, Virginia, and ranged in age from 14 to 16 years old.
Inman, whose address was listed as 202 Sherry Drive in Mount Airy at the time of his arrest in February, pleaded guilty in April on one count charging him with persuading, enticing, and coercing and attempting to persuade, entice, and coerce minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct.
On Wednesday, he was sentenced to the maximum 17-1/2 year penalty for the crime. In addition, he will be subject to a minimum of five years of supervised probation after his eventual release.
“This case demonstrates the lengths sexual predators will go seek out, win the trust of, and then victimize children. It also is a reminder of the dangers that exist for children online,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bubar. “I commend the hard work and partnership of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police and the FBI, which brought Inman to justice to face his heinous crimes and will ensure he can no longer victimize children.”
Inman admitted that between June 2020 and December 2020, his general pattern of behavior was to exchange messages with his victims using Snapchat and provide the victims with gifts, including alcohol, marijuana, vape cartridges, money, and cell phones. Inman would then turn the conversation toward sexual issues, eventually requesting and receiving sexually explicit photographs and videos from his victims via Snapchat, in exchange for the victims continuing to receive gifts. Inman also traveled to Grayson County to deliver gifts to his victims. There is no evidence of actual physical contact between Inman and the victims.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Virginia State Police.
According to a report from Grayson County Sheriff’s Office issued in February, a probe was initiated after School Resource Officer Jody Poole and the Grayson County school administration learned that a student had received a cell phone from an adult male from North Carolina.
“After further investigation, Poole learned that [the suspect] was also paying the cell phone bill,” according to Lt. Todd Perkins. “After interviewing two students, Poole learned that the male subject was supplying marijuana, vapes, alcohol and vape cartridges in exchange for the use of the cell phone.”