ALBANY, N.Y. -- A Massachusetts man accused of convincing an Albany County boy to send him sexually explicit videos appeared in federal court in Albany Monday.
Brian Belanger, 21, has been in custody since his arrest Friday, and during Monday's hearing he waived his rights and will remain in jail for now.
Federal authorities say Belanger contacted the 10-year-old on a PlayStation 3 online network. Police say he used the nickname "zombieshadow," and spoke with the boy through the games headset.
Authorities say he told the child that people were trying to kill him and that making and sending sexually explicit and sadomasochistic videos could help.
Belanger, who lives in Worcester, Mass., is accused of directing the child what to do in the videos. United States Attorney Richard Hartunian says that over the course of three months, the child e-mailed Belanger a number of video files in e-mails that "depict the child engaged in sexually explicit conduct."
Authorities were notified of the incidents on January 25, when the child's father found the e-mails and videos on the child's iPad.
Dave Fallon of the Albany FBI office offered some simple and very useful advice on keeping your child safe from online gaming predators.
"The problem is that in cases like these parents tend to treat online gaming devices differently than phone or tablet," he said.
Fallon says not to do that, but to instead be vigilant and check their devices and talk about safety.
"We talk to kids about strangers online. But, they are also out there in the gaming community. So, talk with them about being careful about who they invite to play with," he said.
An Investigator said Belanger was very involved in a Worcester area karate school, and NEWS10 ABC discovered the home he was arrested at is a registered daycare facility.
Belanger faces a mandatory minimum sentencing of 15 years in State Prison, and a maximum penalty of 30 years. He could also be fined up to $250,000, and a required term supervised release of at least five years or up to life. If convicted, he would also register as a sex offender.
Anyone in the Albany area with information or concerns regarding this case should call either (518) 431-0247 or 1-(888) 539-4535.
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