DOCUMENT: Internet, Crime

YouTube "Star" Busted In Child Porn Investigation

Musician swapped explicit images with underage fans

Mike Lombardo

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Mike Lombardo Arrested

JULY 26--A musician who built a large following of ardent young female fans on YouTube has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly enticing a pair of minors to send him explicit photos and videos showing themselves masturbating, according to federal court records unsealed yesterday.

Michael Lombardo was busted last Friday in Rome, the upstate New York city where the 23-year-old singer-songwriter resides. Pictured below, Lombardo spent five days in custody before a magistrate yesterday ordered him freed.

Lombardo was directed to surrender his passport, submit to a mental health evaluation, and participate in an electronic monitoring program. The Berklee College of Music graduate was also ordered to observe an evening curfew, barred from the Internet, and told to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18.

In a four-count felony complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Syracuse, Lombardo has been accused of receiving illicit images last year from two girls. Two of the counts filed against Lombardo carry a minimum prison term of 15 years (and a maximum of 30 years). The other two felonies carry a minimum of five years in custody, and a maximum of 20 years in prison.

According to a supporting affidavit sworn by FBI Agent Alix Shelton, one victim was a Lombardo fan who was 14 “when she began sending nude images and videos of herself to Lombardo via Skype.” Shelton reported that the teenager said that Lombardo asked her if she “liked taking orders” and would ask the girl to “strip until she was completely nude.” Once she was naked, Lombardo would allegedly direct the child to masturbate.

After executing a search warrant at Lombardo’s home in late-December, agents discovered a video of the teenager on his laptop. The 51-second clip showed the girl masturbating “fully nude on a bed with her legs spread apart.”

Shelton identified the second victim as a 16-year-old girl who “met Lombardo because he worked at her school.” The teen reported exchanging “a series of pictures wearing less and less clothing to ‘see who would go farther.’” With Lombardo directing her to “take your underwear off and show me” and “touch yourself and show me,” the initially hesitant teen subsequently sent naked photos to Lombardo “when she was 15 and 16 years old.”

An FBI search of Lombardo’s cell phone turned up a photo of the girl masturbating.

The Shelton affidavit identifies two other girls, both 17, as Lombardo victims, alleging that the teens each exchanged sexually explicit photos and videos with Lombardo, whom they initially “met” online “because they were fans of his music.” However, neither teen’s allegation figures in the July 20 felony complaint against the pianist, whom the FBI reported has a “following of female fans ranging from middle-school age to college age.”

As TSG reported in mid-February, the FBI probe of Lombardo began in late-December when a source reported that the musician had arranged a New Year’s Eve sexual liaison with a 15-year-old fan who traveled from her Indiana home to meet him.

The girl, who is identified as “V-1,” or Victim-1, in the Lombardo complaint, provided FBI agents with her cell phone, which contained “multiple nude images of Lombardo” and “multiple explicit text messages” from the musician. The texts, an FBI agent noted, detailed “plans to meet as well as explicit discussions of specific sexual acts.” (6 pages)