What to Know
- A Broadway pianist was arrested last week for allegedly trying to lure a 14-year-old boy to sex through various apps, authorities say
- The "14-year-old boy" was actually an undercover police officer, according to prosecutors
- Justin Brown, a 26-year-old from Manhattan, now faces multiple charges related to sex with a minor
A Broadway pianist has been charged with multiple crimes after being caught allegedly trying to meet with a 14-year-old boy for sex, prosecutors say.
Justin Brown, a 26-year-old from Manhattan who has worked on multiple shows, is accused of attempted use of a child in a sexual performance, attempted criminal sexual act and other offenses.
Prosecutors allege Brown thought he was communicating with a teenage boy on Snapchat and Grindr, but that "boy" was an undercover police officer. The officer posing as the teenage boy got a message through Grindr from Brown Sept. 2; in the message, Brown asked about the boy's age and allegedly said, "nice," after being told he was 14. Then Brown asked to switch the conversation to Snapchat.
About an hour later, Brown allegedly messaged the boy on Snapchat and launched into a sexually-explicit conversation that included explicit images. The two exchanged a series of messages over the next few days; some of those conversations included sexually explicit videos of Brown as well as inappropriate questions, prosecutors say. Three days after Brown first "met" the "teen," he allegedly asked the boy to meet up for sex. They chose a location and Brown was arrested when he arrived.
Authorities say they found lubricant and condoms in his possession -- and he allegedly admitted to scheduling the meeting with the child for sex. Brown also allegedly indicated he had had sexual conversations with multiple other underage people.
"This case underscores the crucial importance of internet surveillance efforts by law enforcement to protect children from sexual predators," Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said in a statement. "However, in addition to police being proactive, this should also serve as a warning to parents that at all times they must closely monitor their children’s online activities - in particular on social media apps. The defendant, who was told numerous times that the person he was chatting with was an underage boy continued to pursue the ‘youngster’ and traveled from Manhattan to Queens to meet for sex.”
If convicted, Brown faces up to seven years in prison. Attorney information for him wasn't immediately clear.