Man uses Fortnite to sexually exploit teens, Florida Attorney General says

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- A Florida man has been arrested after the Attorney General said he used Fortnite to meet and get sexually explicit photos from a teen.

According to WFTS, 41-year-old Anthony Gene Thomas met the 17-year-old through the game by using a co-conspirator.

Over time, Thomas built a relationship with the victim, who talked about hardships at home, and eventually gave them gifts, credit cards, and a cellphone.

On Aug. 25, 2018, authorities said Thomas had the other unnamed suspect bring the teen to his house for sex. The minor returned home the next day after their parents reported them missing.

Records show Thomas and the victim kept in contact until October. On Oct. 11, authorities executed a search warrant and found pornographic images and videos of the minor.

Officials believe there could be 20 more victims.

"This case is disturbing not only because it involves child pornography, but also because a popular online game was used to communicate with the victim," Attorney General Ashley Mood said. "We have reason to believe there could be additional victims, and I am asking anyone with information about the recruiting of minors for child pornography, or any other type of sexual exploitation, to call law enforcement immediately. Additionally, parents need to know that predators will use any means possible to target and exploit a child. I am asking parents and guardians to please make sure you know who your children meet online, and talk to them about sexual predators."

Thomas is being charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computers, traveling to meet a minor for unlawful sexual activity, possession with intention to promote sexual performance of a child, 22 counts of child pornography, and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
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