A man from Waterbury was arrested after police said he posed as a member of the boy band One Direction online in an attempt to entice young girls to perform sex acts.
Waterbury police said John Eastman, 45, was using Skype with the screen name Harry.Styles888, and had pictures of the One Direction singer on his computer, which were used to convince children he was the star.
"Prerecorded images and videos of these musicians and celebrities he would show so it would lend credibility that he was that person," said Waterbury Police Deputy Chief Christopher Corbett.
Police said Eastman, who is a convicted sex offender, would offer free concert tickets in exchange for children posing nude or performing sex acts online, and that his Skype camera received graphic sexual images of children, some as young at 5 years old.
Police said they were tipped off by authorities in Vermont where they said Eastman contacted several girls.
"Primarily, he seemed to be targeting, 13, 14, 15-year-olds, primarily, pre and early teen females," Corbett said.
Investigators said Eastman did all these actions from the third floor of a home on Congress Avenue where he lived with his mother.
When Eastman learned police were on to him, he vanished, according to neighbors.
"It's scary," said neighbor Katherine Murphy. "You don't think people would do things like that but there are people out there like that."
Two weeks ago, police tracked down Eastman in Virginia and arrested him.
Investigators said they recovered more than 200 of those types of images from those Skype encounters and hundreds of other, unrelated, child pornography images of girls.
Police don't know how long it was going on.
"It went beyond Waterbury. It went beyond Connecticut," Corbett said. "Via the Internet, he was able to go nationwide and worldwide. We don't know.
Eastman was removed from the Connecticut Sex Offender Registry after 10 years expired.
According to court documents, family members were always concerned after citing numerous episodes in the past. In fact, Eastman registered as a sex offender after assaulting a 9-year-old girl in 1999.
"Abuse of animals, deviant sexual behavior towards his family, so definitely a very troubled person," Corbett said.
During questioning, Eastman gave this explanation for a motive.
"My hope is that the girl will show me herself on camera and then pose in a sexual manner or perform a sex act," he told police, according to court documents.
He was charged with employing a minor in an obscene performance, promoting a minor in an obscene performance, enticing a minor by computer, misrepresenting age to entice a minor, illegal possession of child porn and risk of injury to a minor.
Eastman is being held in jail on $500,000 bond. He's expected back in court on June 6.
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