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Case Number: 4:21-cr-00195
Judge: Stephen Murphy
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Tulsa
Defendant's Attorney: Andrea Brown
Description: Tulsa, Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with coercion and enticement of a child and one county of abusive sexual contact in Indian country.
Jeremy Nicholas Botonis, 45, was convicted on Friday, May 6, 2022, by a federal jury following two hours of deliberation.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy has now sentenced Botonis, to 35 years and four months for coercion and enticement of a child and 24 months for abusive sexual contact in Indian Country. Sentences are to run concurrently followed by 7 years of supervised release.
“Devious individuals like Botonis use social media to gain access, groom their victims and violate their trust,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “The victim in this case displayed incredible strength as he testified and is to be commended along with our law enforcement partners and federal prosecutors Chris Nassar and Stephanie Ihler for ensuring Botonis was held accountable for his predatory crimes.”
On Aug. 24, 2019, while in the woods, Botonis placed his hand inappropriately on the clothed minor victim’s thigh and what the victim described as his “private area.” He then attempted to kiss the victim. When the child rejected his advances and pulled away, Botonis became upset and concerned the child might reveal what had occurred to his parents. He demanded the victim delete prior messages between the two.
After the incident, Botonis continued to communicate with the victim using a Facebook page titled “Wolf Page.” Eventually, the victim’s father discovered the sexually explicit messages and the victim disclosed to his father the page belonged to Botonis and that Botonis had attempted to kiss him in the woods during an outing. The child’s parents reported the crime to authorities. During the investigation, the child further disclosed to law enforcement that Botonis had also touched him inappropriately the day of the incident.
Federal agents were able to extract messages from the victim’s cell phone including 5,000 messages where the defendant talked about the child’s looks, professed his “love” for the victim, made sexual innuendos, described sex acts. Botonis further suggested the two should engage in the “furry lifestyle,” which for some is a sexual fetish that involves dressing in animal costumes and performing sex acts. At one point, the victim indicated to the defendant that he was uncomfortable and did not want to receive any further sexual messages.
At trial, federal prosecutors contended that at the time of the crime, Botonis was a 41-year-old man obsessed with a vulnerable 13-year-old child, bombarding the victim with messages nearly every day and even guilt tripping the victim when he did not respond in kind. Prosecutors argued that while Botonis tried to portray himself as non-threatening and trustworthy, he was a predator hiding in the shadows, waiting for a vulnerable victim and the right moment to engage.
The case was initially charged in Mayes County District Court but was dismissed in April 2021 due to lack of jurisdiction based on the Supreme Court’s decision in McGirt v Oklahoma. The victim is a Cherokee citizen. The U.S. Attorney’s Office then charged the case in federal court in May 2021.
Botonis has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Mayes County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Nassar and Stephanie Ihler prosecuted the case.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 35 years and four months in prison.