The US Department of Justice wants an Arizona man held without bail after he allegedly targeted a Honolulu girl for more than a year using sexually explicit photos and one of his more than 100 Instagram accounts.

Dustin Hill, 24, was indicted May 16 on a single count of sexual exploitation of a child. He was originally charged by criminal complaint April 24 with production/attempted production of child pornography.

He is scheduled to be arraigned and enter a plea today before US Magistrate Judge Rom A. Trader. Hill lived in Hawaii until moving to Arizona with his parents in about 2017.

From Nov 2, 2020, through Nov 15, 2021, Hill allegedly convinced a 13-year-old girl “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct and for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction” of the behaviour, according to the indictment.

According to an affidavit authored by an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the girl, referred to in federal court documents as “minor victim 1”, was participating in a November 2021 Child Adolescent Forensic Interview about another possible paedophile, when she told authorities about Hill.

The FBI checked her information and confirmed the girl was 13 when she was allegedly targeted by Hill.

The girl told federal agents she virtually “met” Hill when he “found and began following her on Instagram”, which led to direct messaging between the two on Instagram.

The girl told federal agents and Hawaii law enforcement officers Hill’s account name was “Keith with a bunch of numbers”. Hill had at least 10 different Instagram accounts, according to federal court documents.

In November 2020, on the girl’s 13th birthday, Hill allegedly told her to send him a picture via Instagram direct messaging “of herself naked, or he would hurt her family members”.

The picture needed to be of her stomach down. After he got the photo, Hill allegedly told the girl she then needed to video-chat with him or he would send the picture to her family and tell them what she did.

The girl complied and followed Hill’s sexually explicit instructions. After the video chat Hill allegedly left her alone for several months. Hill then reappeared and contacted the girl with a screenshot of the girl’s behavior during their video chat and threatened to send it to her family if she didn’t do what he asked.

Hill “repeatedly threatened her and coerced her into sending him naked images of herself and engaging in naked video calls with him approximately two to four times per month for over a year”, according to federal court documents.

Hill allegedly asked the girl to perform an array of sexually explicit behaviour on video or in pictures and threatened to hurt her family and do the same thing to her younger cousin if she didn’t listen to him.

The federal criminal complaint contains an alleged excerpt from one of Hill’s Instagram accounts between June 14 and 16, 2021, that details conversations where the girl refers to Hill as “daddy” while he demands more graphic content be created and transmitted to him.

Hill allegedly gave a statement to federal agents that read, while he was on Instagram he “chatted with underage girls, meaning under 18 years old”, and asked them for “nude images” to include private parts, according to the complaint.

“I would do live video calls with them on Instagram and tell them what to do and poses to do while nude. If they did not want to send images, videos, or do live calls with me I would threaten to expose the images or videos online,” Hill wrote. “It was not every girl that I spoke with online.”

Hill’s attorney, First Assistant Federal Public Defender Craig W. Jerome, did not immediately reply to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s request for comment. Assistant US Attorney Marshall H. Silverberg is prosecuting the case.

Hill is also the subject of criminal forfeiture proceedings for anything he got or gained from exploiting the girl.

That includes, “but is not limited to, a black ‘be quiet’ tower computer, a white Apple iPad mini, a black Apple iPhone, a black Samsung Galaxy Core Prime cellphone, two silver or gray Dell laptops, a dark-coloured iPhone, a set of keys, an Apple watch, a brown Runbox wallet, and US$71 (RM333) found in Hill’s wallet”.

Sextortion, a crime without a specific federal statute, is on the rise in Hawaii and across the US.

In 2023 the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline received 186,819 reports of online enticement, the category that includes sextortion.

From 2021 to 2023 the number of online enticement reports increased by 323%, according to the center.

Sextortion describes a crime in which an offender “coerces a minor to create and send sexually explicit images or video”. – The Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Tribune News Service