A Snapchat sexual predator in Arkansas who admittedly tracked a 13-year-old girl using the app’s real-time location feature and left a “vape” in the victim’s mailbox in exchange for explicit videos was sentenced Thursday to the maximum punishment for the offense under the law.
Michael Ray Beam, 32, was hit with 30 years of federal prison time and a lifetime of supervised release after pleading guilty to sexually exploiting a young girl in Texarkana, Arkansas to send him “nude images and videos of herself, amounting to child pornography under federal law,” according to the Department of Justice.
“The victim told authorities that Beam had left a ‘vape’ device in her home mailbox in exchange for her sending him images and videos of herself engaging in specific sexual acts,” the DOJ said. “Using the Snapchat service, Beam had been able view the victim’s real-time physical location, at her Texarkana, Arkansas, residence.”
According to the plea agreement the government filed on March 10, 2022, Miller County’s Michael Ray Beam was arrested on Sept. 18, 2020 and had a cell phone loaded with child sexual abuse material, including videos. The defendant admittedly kept these images and videos in a folder on his phone titled “My Collections.”
“Within a digital file folder on the phone, entitled ‘My Collections,’ investigators located a number of sub-folders, some of which were designated with female first names. In one of those folders, investigators located nine ‘mp4.’ digital video files,” the filing said. “Each of the nine videos is a ‘screen-capture recording,’ depicting in real-time everything displayed on the Defendant’s phone’s screen during the period of each such recording.”
The plea agreement noted that Beam unwittingly played a role in convicting himself.
“In one of the nine screen-capture videos, the Defendant can be seen to activate his phone’s screen-side digital camera, causing his face to be briefly displayed on the phone’s screen, and thus to be recorded as part of that video,” the plea agreement continued.
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The government said that Beam used Snapchat in December 2019 to “ask the minor female, more than once, to send him digital images depicting the lascivious display of her vagina from different angles, and digital videos showing her masturbating by rubbing her visibly exposed vagina.” He was aware that she was 13 years old.
Chillingly, the plea agreement said screen-capture recordings prove that Beam used Snapchat’s user location feature to “view the minor female’s current physical location at the time of the above-described exchange, which was on a particular residential street in Miller County, Arkansas.”
The feds narrowed down where the residence was located and interviewed the victim’s mother, who confirmed that her daughter was, in fact, pictured in Beam’s child sexual abuse material. The plea agreement established that Beam not only tracked the victim’s location, he left a “vape” in the 13-year-old girl’s mailbox.
“Jane Doe was interviewed by a child forensic examiner regarding the events of December 15, 2019. Jane Doe told the interviewer that the Defendant, Michael Beam, had added her as a friend on Snapchat. She said she had sent nude images, and probably videos, of herself to the Defendant in exchange for a ‘vape’ device that he left in the mailbox at her residence in Miller County,” court documents said. “Jane Doe said that, during her first interaction with him on Snapchat, the Defendant asked how old she was, and she told him she was 13. She also said the Defendant had sent her pictures of his face and his own genitalia.”
Notably, both the government and the defense agreed to jointly recommend a sentence of 360 months or 30 years — the maximum punishment.
The September 2021 indictment also alleged that the defendant committed sexual exploitation crimes against a 15-year-old girl identified only as Judy Doe. As part of the plea agreement, however, Beam pleaded guilty only to count 1 in connection with crimes against the 13-year-old girl.
Detective Jeremy Poole confirmed to Law&Crime that Beam is still in the custody of the Miller County Sheriff’s Office as of Friday.
Read the indictment and plea agreement here.
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