A Manhattan man who works as a Broadway musician faces a slew of charges after being caught trying to arrange a sexual encounter online with a 14-year-old boy who turned out to be an undercover cop.
Justin Brown, 26, of West 112th Street is accused of trying to meet a teenage boy for sex through the Snapchat and Grindr apps, but ended up communicating with an undercover police officer actively investigating online sex crimes.
The New York Daily News reported that Brown worked as a rehearsal musician for such Broadway shows as “King Kong” and “Dear Evan Hansen.”
Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said that Brown first connected with the officer through Grindr at 11 a.m. on Labor Day, Sept. 2. He sent a text message asking for the individual’s age, and after learning that he was 14, Brown allegedly said “nice” and asked the “teenager” to switch over to Snapchat.
At noon that day, prosecutors said, Brown sent the undercover officer a Snapchat message under the username “jbplaysmusic1.” Following a graphic conversation, Brown allegedly sent the purported teenager photos of his face and genitalia.
Brown allegedly engaged in additional, sexually explicit conversations with the “teenager” on Sept. 2 and Sept. 5, and also sent a video of himself masturbating. On Sept. 5, Brown allegedly asked the purported teen about meeting up for sex in Queens.
They agreed to meet up later that day at a location on Parsons Boulevard in Queens, where Brown was apprehended upon arrival. Law enforcement agents seized from Brown a backpack in his possession which contained condoms and a bottle of lubricant.
During questioning by detectives, prosecutors said, Brown allegedly admitted to scheduling the meeting and that he had been talking with numerous people whom he believed were underage.
Brown faces charges of attempted use of a child in a sexual performance, second- and third-degree attempted criminal sexual act, first-degree attempted dissemination of indecent material to minors and attempted endangering the welfare of a child. He faces up to 7 years behind bars if convicted, Ryan said.
“This case underscores the crucial importance of internet surveillance efforts by law enforcement to protect children from sexual predators,” Ryan said. “However, in addition to police being proactive, this should also serve as a warning to parents that at all times they must closely monitor their children’s online activities – in particular on social media apps.”
It was the second major online sex sting that law enforcement agents conducted in Queens this week. Also on Sept. 5, federal agents nabbed an Astoria man who similarly attempted to lure a 14-year-old boy into a sexual encounter, but the “teenager” also turned out to be an undercover officer.