GRAND JURY INDICTS FORMER SCHOOL ATHLETIC TRAINER ON MULTIPLE CHARGES INCLUDING ENTICING A MINOR AND PRODUCTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
October 31, 2019
ROCHESTER, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a five-count indictment charging Austin Pratt, 30, of Conesus, NY, with enticement of a minor, production, receipt, and possession of child pornography, and transfer of obscene matter to a minor. The charges carry a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, on January 12, 2019, the New York State Police were notified by the parents of a teenaged minor girl (the victim) that they found a large amount of text messages on their daughter’s phone from her school athletic trainer, the defendant.
During an interview with the victim, she told investigators that in November 2018, Pratt began texting her. Simple texts regarding an injury the victim suffered led to nude photographs being exchanged between the two using Instagram.
Some of the text messages between the defendant and the victim included:
• “I seriously cannot stop thinking about you or wanting you. This is crazy to me for only knowing you for a few weeks and I'm not sure how to navigate these feelings as I'm obviously married and our age difference which plays a huge role in all this. I love talking to you and being around you and all I want is to be with you. I hate the fact that I am 16 years older than you and that we have to hide and be sneaky.”
• “Nothing would happen to you lol. My life would be ruined.” The victim responded, “You get divorce papers and 20 years in jail.” Pratt responded, “Yuppppp... gotta be super sneaky.”
Subsequently, according to the complaint, Pratt and the victim engaged in sexual intercourse on January 7, 2019, at the victim’s home.
Pratt was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan W. Feldman and was released on conditions.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Eric Laughton, the Rochester Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert, and the Livingston County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Gregory J. McCaffrey.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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