A Portland man is going to prison for the sexual exploitation of a child and drug trafficking.

Who Was Sentenced?

Sebastian Demers, 32, is sentenced to 15 years in prison for the sexual exploitation count and one year on the drug count, to be served consecutively. Once he's released from prison, he will serve 10 years of supervised release. In addition, Demers is ordered to pay the victim and the victim's family $15,843.17 in restitution.

Did the Drug Dealing Play a Part in the Abuse?

The charges stem from an extended interaction between Demers and a teenager he originally met online. According to the U.S. Department of Justice District of Maine, it began in November 2020 when Demers befriended a 14-year-old child online. Soon after, Demers began engaging in illegal sexual contact with the victim.

At some point, the victim's parents got a protection order against Demers, but he continued to pressure the teen to see him, threatening to harm the victim and their family if they did not comply. Officials say Demers took several sexually explicit photos and videos of the victim, which investigators later found on Demers' cell phone. He also gave the teen drugs and alcohol, telling the victim that he sold drugs.

In April 2022, federal agents executed a search warrant at Demers' home and found cocaine and other evidence of drug trafficking. He pleaded guilty in December 2022.

Is It Common for Predators to Find Young Victims Online?

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children cautions parents that in 2022 alone, more than 80,000 reports of enticement of children for sexual exploitation began online. Victimization can take place across every online platform, including social media, messaging apps, gaming platforms, and others. People can make a CyberTipline Report to the NCMEC online.

In Maine, if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or abused, you can get help by calling the free, private 24-hour statewide sexual assault helpline at 1-800-871-7741.

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