Ventura County man arrested for allegedly blackmailing girl for pictures, sex

A Ventura County man was arrested this week for allegedly soliciting inappropriate photos from an underaged girl, then blackmailing her into having sex with him, according to authorities. 

Connor Kerns was arrested in the Newbury Park area of Thousand Oaks earlier this week after an investigation dating back to last July. 

Back then, Ventura County Sheriff's deputies in Ojai took a report that an underaged girl was tricked into sending a man nude pictures and videos over social media, with authorities saying evidence pointed to Kerns as the suspect. Police allege Kerns tricked the girl into sending him the images, offered to pay for them, and then blackmailed her into sending more, saying he would leak the images he'd already gotten if she didn't comply. 

Next, police say Kerns posed as a hacker from a fake social media account and contacted the girl. He allegedly told her that he'd hacked into Kerns' account and stolen the photos she had sent him. From there, police say he, pretending to be the hacker, threatened to leak the images again if the girl didn't meet up with him.

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After investigating further, deputies say they received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, that linked Kerns to two similar cases — one involving an underaged girl in Los Angeles County and another in the state of Tennessee. 

He was arrested Monday and booked on 22 separate counts related to child pornography and sexual assault. He's awaiting arraignment and is being held on $1 million bail. 

Ventura County officials are still investigating, and believe there may be other victims. Anyone with information is asked to call 805-384-4723.