Moneta man charged with child exploitation, stalking, possession of child pornography

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A federal grand jury in Roanoke returned an indictment Thursday, charging a Moneta man with child sexual exploitation, stalking, and possession of child pornography in relation to his leadership role of a group of people who extort and “swat” people online, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A grand jury charged 26-year-old Evan Strauss, also known as “Reaper,” and “Kobe Deonsons,” with one count of stalking, one count of coercion and enticement, two counts of the sexual exploitation of a child, and one count of possession of child pornography.

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According to court documents, on Nov. 1, 2023, Strauss and a 17-year-old girl from Wyoming met online and began to communicate regularly. Over the course of several months, we’re told Strauss used various interactive computer services, interactive computer services, electronic communications services, and other systems to harass and intimidate the girl, and to place her under surveillance.

“In one instance, after the victim refused to provide nude photos or videos of herself, Strauss became controlling and would scream at her. Later, he discovered the victim’s home address and threatened to ‘swat’ her if she did not send him nude pictures or cut herself. Strauss then threatened to show up and kill her, her family, and her cat. As proof of his sincerity, Strauss boasted that he had killed animals before,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in a press release.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the victim gave into Strauss’s commands out of concern for her family.

On Jan. 24, 2024, FBI agents interviewed Strauss while conducting a search of his residence. We’re told among the evidence that was seized was an iPhone containing multiple videos and images of young girls.

The Attorney’s Office said Strauss admitted that one of his online usernames was “Reaper,” and also claimed that he was an active member of approximately 200 people known as the “Community,” and that he operated a sub-group within the Community known as the “Purgatory.” Strauss said the Community participates in a variety of criminal activities online, including placing swatting calls, hacking, blackmailing individuals for money, and extorting women and girls to obtain explicit photos or videos of themselves and to commit acts of self-harm.

About the Author

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.

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