Man accused of trying to exploit boys on online video games

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — An Illinois man faces charges in Massachusetts that he tried to sexually exploit boys through online video games.

U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz said Friday that 31-year-old Zack Sawyer has been indicted on two counts of attempted sexual exploitation for soliciting two boys in western Massachusetts.

Prosecutors allege Sawyer used MineCraft as well as video games played on X-Box Live to communicate with at least eight boys, aged 10 to 13 years old, in Massachusetts, Illinois and Virginia.

Sawyer sent some of the boys picture of his genitals and asked they send him nude photographs. He also engaged others in sexually explicit chats. When a boy refused his requests, Sawyer allegedly threatened to rape and kill them and their families.

A lawyer who represented Sawyer in a related case didn’t immediately comment.