Following a four-day trial in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, a jury convicted Nicholas Nassif Hayek, 22, of Leominster, Massachusetts, of five counts of child exploitation.
Hayek knowingly or attempting to knowingly entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, knowingly or attempting to knowingly persuade a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct, knowingly transferring obscene matter to another individual who had not attained the age of 16 years, knowingly receiving child pornography and knowingly possessing child pornography involving a child less than 12 years of age, the jury found.
Sentencing is set for Nov. 29 at 1:30 p.m., before the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer. Hayek faces a maximum life sentence in prison and a 10-year minimum mandatory and a 15-year minimum mandatory for counts one and two, respectively, for enticing a minor.
The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Hayek found a 10-year-old child via social media. Hayek befriended the child and at trial the jury saw numerous chat messages exchanged between the two.
The messages also detailed the countless requests from Hayek asking the child to send him nude photos. Law enforcement also obtained 22 pictures and one video of Hayek exposing himself to the child. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the “growing epidemic” of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexualy exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims, the agency said in a press release Monday.