By Gillian Baker and Lexan Coleman/ Full360 Digital Producers
Snapchat: It’s the popular social media app that reaches almost 400 million users daily.
What most people harmlessly use as a social media app typically to contact each other has been the root of a deadly case of sexual extortion. The messaging app had become a tool for a certain sexual predator and used as a weapon against his young victims and their families.
A 27-year-old Bucks County man, sexually extorted and harassed 15 victims over several years, is facing 20-51 years in state prison. Over Snapchat, Ian Pisarchuk was found guilty of his crimes after permanently damaging the lives of several females, including one young woman who took her life due to his actions
At his sentencing, victims and their families described the immeasurable emotional damage caused by Pisarchuk, the man who forever changed their lives.
A report from the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office detailed his crimes and the sentencing hearing. Standing bravely in front of the defendant, the mother of Lindsey Piccone tearfully described their daughter, who was born premature, as a “miracle baby” who meant everything to them. “Lindsey was our world,” she said. Their daughter was tragically one of Pisarchuk’s first victims in September 2016. Pisarchuk forcefully demanded Piccone send him sexually explicit photos, and just a day later she left her Bensalem home for the last time ever. Lindsey was found two months later deceased in Tyler State Park, her death being ruled a suicide.
Her last communication to the world was a note left behind saying, “before someone else ruins my life, I’m ruining mine.”
Though Pisarchuk’s actions had recently lead to the death of someonel, he continued to extort more girls, some as young as 12-years-old. Pisarchuk used his power over these girls, obtaining sexually explicit content and threatening them if they did not agree to send more to him, the release said. “They lived in fear, not knowing what this defendant was going to do,” Bensalem officer Kern said in the DA report.
Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. said “each victim deserves some sort of justice. You have done something to them that they may never recover from… only to satisfy your perverted state of mind.”
The Bensalem courtroom was full of emotion as trial went on and Pisarchuk’s multitude of crimes were now on display. Pisarchuk pleaded guilty on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, to 67 total counts of enticing a minor to produce child pornography, possession of child pornography, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, sexual extortion, stalking, terroristic threats, harassment, and cyber harassment of a child.
“The actions of this defendant are truly horrific, and the impact he has had on the victims, their families, and the community is immeasurable,” Kern said. “I am relieved that this defendant was stopped before he could ruin any additional lives. I hope that others who are victims of similar crimes feel empowered to come forward to police and report what has happened to them, so we can investigate and do our best to achieve some form of justice for them.”
According to the Crimewatch report, this past summer, the state passed Lindsey’s Law, a sentencing enhancement for people whose sexual extortion leads to serious bodily injury or death of the victim. “Our world and lives were changed forever,” Piccone’s mother cried, questioning what Pisarchuk did to their daughter that left her feeling so helpless she felt her only option was to take her own life. “What did you do to her mind?” Ian Pisarchuk had messaged Piccone repeatedly on Sept. 5, 2016, through an anonymous Snapchat account, demanding that she send him nude photographs. If she didn’t, he threatened he would ruin her life. Piccone sent him photos when he expressed he would get more from her the next day. That very next day was the last Lindsey was ever seen.
The investigation into Ian began in late 2020 when a juvenile victim came forward to say she was being harassed on Snapchat by someone threatening that he had nude pictures of her and was threatening exposure. The investigation led detectives to an IP address belonging to Pisarchuk. The investigation found that he would threaten to expose or do harm to them or others if they did not comply with his demands for sexually explicit images and videos. Pisarchuk used several different Snapchat accounts to harass these young girls anonymously.
It was testified that On Pisarchuk’s cellphone, investigators located hundreds of photos and videos, belonging to 150 to 200 different women, some victims underage. Prosecutors bought light to the drastic horrors of Pisarchuk’s crimes, highlighting the power trip he experienced through tormenting his victims. The investigation uncovered that Ian had used Lindsey Piccone’s death as a threat to some of his other victims.
This case was investigated by Bensalem Police Detectives Aaron Woelkers and Ryan Kolb and was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Brittney Kern.