Pennsylvania woman catfished 16-year-old boy using explicit photos of teen daughter, forced him to attempt suicide

“This defendant’s criminal conduct was so heinous and cold-hearted that it almost defies description,” First Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said


                            Pennsylvania woman catfished 16-year-old boy using explicit photos of teen daughter, forced him to attempt suicide
Representational Image (Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A woman has been awarded 35 years behind bars after she was found guilty of “catfishing” a 16-year-old boy by using photos of her own teenage daughter. She also manipulated the victim to send explicit videos of him and compelled him to enter into a suicide pact with her. Linda Paolini was sentenced on Monday, January 11, over a year after she pleaded guilty to two counts of manufacturing child pornography and one count of online enticement of a minor, The Daily Mail reported.

Federal prosecutors said that the 45-year-old criminal took the help of Instagram to lure the teenage boy and exchanged sexually explicit materials with him. She also forced the victim to make and send videos of him masturbating to her. A statement from the Justice Department read, “She did this by assuming the persona of a 16-year-old girl, sending the boy provocative images of her own daughter in order to manipulate him into thinking that an attractive, same-aged girl was in love with him.” It was also revealed that once Paolini faked a suicide attempt during an online video chat with the boy to influence him to his life “in solidarity” with her. The communication between the woman and the boy continued for several months that saw an exchange of more than 50,000 messages.

First Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said, “This defendant’s criminal conduct was so heinous and cold-hearted that it almost defies description. She maliciously manipulated a child into making and sending her pornography of himself. But that was not enough for this defendant. She then manipulated the vulnerable child into attempting suicide. As a result of this prosecution and today’s sentencing, she will be behind bars for decades and will no longer pose a danger to other children.” Reports said that in addition to that teenager, Paolini confessed to “catfishing” at least two other boys. An investigation into the mother was reportedly launched after police received a phone tip about her online conduct. In addition to getting 35 years of jail time, Paolini also got a lifetime of supervised release and over $15,000 in fines.

In another incident, a stepfather was sentenced for secretly filming her daughter on camera during the bath. Thomas Craig Lewis captured Lauren Brightwood for years before being caught on the eve of her 18th birthday. Brightwood said she always took Lewis as her real father since the age of four, but the pervert started recording her naked when she was just 14. Reports said when the 35-year-old was confronted, he first said he thought Brightwood was crying, but later admitted that he wanted to see how she looked as an adult. On December 22, the man was awarded a 10-month jail term suspended for 18 months along with 30 days of rehabilitation activity after he was found guilty of two counts of voyeurism. Lewis was also ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work. After the sentencing, Brightwood said, “The sentence wasn't what I wanted but we have to go with it. 'It's a shame but I'm just glad it's over with.”

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