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