A South Florida man who worked as a counselor at a YMCA after-school program is accused of posing as a girl on the internet to solicit nude photos from a teen boy then threatening to release them unless the boy had sex with him.
Joseph Anthony Garcia, 18, was arrested on Monday on charges including extortion, traveling to meet a minor for sex, promoting sexual performance by a minor, possessing obscene material harmful to a minor and prohibited use of a computer service, Miami-Dade jail records showed.
An arrest report said Garcia presented himself on the internet as a 16-year-old girl named Kiki/Kathy and began a conversation with the boy that quickly became sexual in nature.
"He was impersonating a female which was part of the influencing of the young man, probably impressionable, and he thought 'OK, this is a young lady who is interested in me' and at that point that is when the communications continued," Miami-Dade Police Det. Chris Thomas said.
At one point, Garcia was able to get the boy to send a nude photo and video to him, and Garcia started to threaten the boy, saying he would expose the photo to the boy's mother and sister-in-law if he didn't send more, the report said.
"I'm gonna ask for kinky stuff and you're going to say yes mam," Garcia, posing as Kiki/Kathy, wrote to the boy, according to the report. "As many as I want, as frequent as I want."
The victim continued to send Garcia photos, but Garcia told him he would have to have sex with him to avoid having the photos sent out, the report said. A detective posed as the boy and agreed to meet Garcia at a McDonald's, and when Garcia showed up he was arrested, the report said.
Garcia remained behind bars Tuesday on $45,000 bond, jail records showed. Attorney information wasn't available.
A YMCA spokesperson said Garcia has been suspended pending further investigation and said the YMCA is fully cooperating with Miami-Dade Police.
"The safety and well-being of all kids in our programs is our first priority. To ensure the safety of our students, the YMCA adheres to all background screening requirements by the Department of Children and Families and the School Board of Miami-Dade County," a YMCA statement read.