Police: Freeland Instagram predator possibly has dozens of victims

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FREELAND (WJRT) (12/7/2017) - The investigation into a 37-year-old Freeland man seeking inappropriate photos of young girls on Instagram started with a single victim.

When the investigation is complete, police say they could end up with dozens of victims. Police are combing through three of Jason Schultz's electronic devices to determine how many victims there could be in this case.

Schultz faces up to 10 years in prison after he the Tittabawassee Township Police Department arrested him Wednesday on charges of accosting a minor for immoral purposes and using a computer to commit a crime.

He is accused of using three different Instagram screen names to pose as a 12-year-old boy and solicit inappropriate photos of young girls in the Freeland Community Schools district.

Tittabawasee Township Police Det. Brian Berg said the investigation started when a Freeland family checked their daughter's Instagram account.

"He started engaging in some communications with this 10-year-old victim and her parents subsequently found out about it," Berg said.

Schultz told the girl and others, most between 10 and 14 years old, he was wanted them to send him sexually explicit photos, according to Berg. Prosecutors say 30 to 50 children have to be interviewed, mainly Freeland school students, but students in another district may have also been targeted.

"Probably was occuring in Swan Valley, because they had the same young 12-year-old boy identified on Instagram messages communicating with some of their students and doing the same thing," Berg said.

At Thursday's arraignment, defense attorney Matt Reyes wanted Schultz's bond lowered.

"Mr. Schultz was arrested on Friday and released on Monday as a result of these exact charges," Reyes said. "He didn't go anywhere, he didn't flee anywhere."

Schultz was arrested again Wednesday after investigators collected more evidence. Judge Randall Jurrens kept the bond at $250,000 cash.

Berg said Schultz works as a physician's assistant at several medical offices in the region. He believes Schultz may have used his medical position to target another child.

"This young female started receiving Instagram messages from someone portraying himself to be a 12-year-old boy using the same user name on our case and started to engage her about her office visit and the treatment she received."

No additional charges were filed in that case.



 
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