A youth pastor in Indiana has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after admitting he used phony Facebook accounts to solicit nude photos from children, including kids from his own youth group.
Nathan Hasty, the Campus Life Director for Youth for Christ located in Huntington County, Ind., used three different fake Facebook accounts in order to start sexual conversations with multiple minors, eventually successfully soliciting naked photos from some of them.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Theresa Springmann accepted 36-year-old Hasty’s guilty plea on one charge of sexual exploitation of a minor and sentenced him to 15 years. Two additional charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Judge Springmann told Hasty the government takes the charge of sexual exploitation of children seriously because it targets “the most vulnerable in our society.”
In an affidavit detailing the criminal investigation, which dates back to 2012, an FBI agent who investigated the case said Hasty had two Facebook accounts under which he pretended to be a sixteen-year-old girl, and another account under which he posed as a nineteen-year-old boy.
Posing as a sixteen-year-old girl, Hasty messaged dozens of boys, most between the ages of 12 and 14, in order to flirt and start sexual conversations. He then asked for pictures of the boys, including naked pictures. Documents state he also asked the boys for webcam sessions, claiming he didn’t have a camera and could only watch.
Posing as a nineteen-year-old boy, Hasty contacted both girls and boys. According to documents, he used this account to engage in similar behavior and ask similar questions.
The FBI affidavit states that a Facebook report linked these accounts by IP addresses and browser cookies, which means Hasty used the same computer (or other devices) to access these accounts and his other personal accounts.
When originally confronted by law enforcement at his home Hasty admitted that he had posed as a girl using a fake Facebook account to speak with boys in his youth group. He said he might have said some things “he shouldn’t have said” and that the conversation may have become “sexual.”
As one might expect, Hasty’s employment with Youth for Christ has been terminated.