New Richmond man under investigation for “blackmailing” teens into sending nude images
A New Richmond man previously convicted of sending lewd photos to minors was sentenced for violating the terms of his probation after authorities said he “blackmailed” teenagers into sending sexual images.
Court documents filed earlier this month highlight a pattern of Barton Scott allegedly contacting women and girls then demanding nude images after taking control of their social media accounts. The new accusations have prompted an investigation into the 34-year-old’s mobile device habits, implicating hundreds of potential victims nationwide.
“It is clear to the court that this is a much more deep-seeded crime, issue or condition,” said Circuit Judge Scott Needham Friday, Sept. 29, before sentencing Scott to a year in prison and a two-and-a-half year supervised treatment program for sex offenders after determining he had violated the terms of his probation.
The sentence, which is the maximum in Wisconsin, also forbids Scott from using the internet and possessing a mobile device able to access the web.
St. Croix County District Attorney Michael Nieskes said the allegations bear a resemblance to Scott’s previous method of contacting minors.
In 2015, he was convicted of a felony after sending obscene messages -- including photos of his genitalia -- to teenage girls. Scott gleaned their information as a Hudson Verizon store employee. He received a six-month jail sentence and was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
The conditions of his parole forbid Scott from having contact with minors and the victims.
He was living in Maplewood, Minn. at the time.
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"This time he's contacting hundreds of individuals," said Nieskes, while arguing in court the maximum penalties should apply to Scott. “He's taking control of their account and will not turn their account over to them until they provide him nude videos ... and blackmailing them.”
Using the aliases Chris Johnson and Rocking Horse, authorities said Scott contacted a 16-year-old Connecticut girl and, while posing as a friend, hacked into her Snapchat account.
After discovering non-public nude photos of the girl, he threatened to make them public unless she sent a video of her performing a sexual act, according to court records.
Investigators also found similar complaints stemming from an investigation in Carver County, Minn., where a teenager reported her social media account had been taken over. Police in St. Paul reported a college-age woman had allegedly received messages from Scott asking for nude photos, despite the woman insisting Scott stop contacting her.
Authorities in St. Croix County took him into custody Aug. 8.
Investigators seized multiple mobile devices from Scott’s New Richmond apartment, where they found files depicting young women and girls in sexual scenarios, as well as several chat logs.
In all, Scott allegedly gained access to more than 300 social media accounts across the country, Nieskes said.
“No clue (sic) it was a lot,” Scott told investigators when asked how many accounts he has accessed, according to court records.
The FBI is reportedly aiding authorities in Minnesota due to the large volume of data and national reach of potential victims.
It was not immediately clear Friday if prosecutors in Minnesota and Connecticut planned to file criminal charges.
The investigation is still ongoing, Nieskes said.