Man accused of sex crime over mobile app

A New York state resident was summoned to appear in Island County Superior Court Sept. 4 on a sex-crime charge, according to court documents.

Austin Burns, 24, is facing two counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. He was charged in Island County District Court Aug. 15.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service started investigating the case last fall. A member of the military at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island reported that his 16-year-old daughter had been engaging in sexually explicit communication with Burns through Facebook Messenger, according to the NCIS report.

The girl said Burns had sent her sexually explicit images and a video over the app, but she had deleted them, the report states. The girl also said Burns knew she was a minor.

The investigators served a search warrant on Facebook for account data from both Burns’ and the victim’s phones. The results revealed Burns had engaged in sexually explicit conversations and sent the girl sexually explicit images, the report states.

The final message in the exchange is to Burns from the girl’s father.

“If I ever see another text or PM or video chat from you to my minor daughter, not only will I prosecute you to the highest levels of the law as a sexual predator … but I will also ensure that everyone in your social media profile will know that you are trying to engage in sexually explicit behavior with an underage child,” the father wrote, according to the report.

Burns sent back an apology and promised not to contact the man’s daughter.

If convicted of the charges, Burns could face up to a year in jail.

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Photo by The Everett Herald / 2016
                                Todd Morrow
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