EUGENE, Ore.—A Greensboro, North Carolina man was sentenced to more than 16 years in federal prison today for sexually exploiting an Oregon child using Musical.ly, a social media application now known as TikTok.
Andrew Thomas Tager, 32, was sentenced to 195 months in federal prison and 15 years’ supervised release.
According to court documents, in May 2018, when Tager was 28 years old, he posed as a female employee of Musical.ly and began communicating with a then-10-year-old Oregon child. He encouraged the child to participate in a fictional “crown program” wherein the child could earn a “crown” by sending the “employee” photos and videos of herself. The child believed earning a crown would give her access to various privileges on Musical.ly not available to other users.
Tager directed the child to produce and send him pornographic photos and videos of herself using Kik Messenger, an instant messaging mobile application. Tager instructed the child on how she should pose and move, what she should wear, what props she should use, and how long the videos needed to be. Tager further threatened the child, telling her that if she quit “the program,” her photos and videos would be released to others.
When the child’s parents found the sexually explicit photos and messages on the child’s phone, they reported the conduct to law enforcement. On May 30, 2019, after a lengthy investigation, Tager was arrested in North Carolina.
On May 2, 2019, Tager was charged by criminal complaint with production of child pornography. Later, on May 31, 2022, he was charged by criminal information with production and attempted production of child pornography. On June 6, 2022, Tager waived indictment and pleaded guilty.
As part of his sentence, Tager must also register as a sex offender.
This case was investigated by FBI Portland’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) with assistance from the North Bend Police Department. It was prosecuted by Ashley R. Cadotte and Amy Potter, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.
Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
The FBI CETF conducts sexual exploitation investigations, many of them undercover, in coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. CETF is committed to locating and arresting those who prey on children as well as recovering and assisting victims of sex trafficking and child exploitation.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Justice Department to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.