The complaint alleges that, in March 2017, CUNNINGHAM began communicating with a 13-year-old female on Omegle, a website and mobile application designed to pair strangers for text and video chats. CUNNINGHAM first told the minor victim that he was 17, and later stated he was 25. CUNNINGHAM and the minor victim then communicated via text messaging and phone calls for approximately one week. During that time, CUNNINGHAM enticed the minor victim to send him sexually explicit images of herself, and attempted to lure her to travel to Connecticut.
CUNNINGHAM appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford. He has been in state custody since May 2, 2017 when he was arrested on state charges. He previously pleaded guilty in state court to illegal sexual contact with a minor and enticement of a minor, and is currently serving a three-year state sentence.
If convicted of the federal charge, CUNNINGHAM faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a criminal complaint is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut State Police, with the assistance of Connecticut State Parole. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy V. Gifford.