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OnlyFans vows it’s a safe space. Predators exploit kids there


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OnlyFans vows it’s a safe space. Predators exploit kids there

The OnlyFans logo appears on its website


OnlyFans CEO Keily Blair has previously stated that they 'know the age and identity of everyone on our platform' but an investigation has shown many cases involving the abuse of minors

Editor’s note: Story contains accounts of child abuse.

When a 16-year-old girl from Florida went missing in April 2023, her parents searched her phone, desperate for clues. What they found shocked them: For months, she’d sent nude photos and videos of herself to a man they now feared had abducted her.

“Some guy just flew in from New Jersey,” her bewildered father told a 911 dispatcher after reading her messages. “There’s some kind of sexual business and explicit photos… Something bad like that.”

The next day, sheriff’s deputies found the girl, partially naked, in a rented house with the man, according to police records. An investigation revealed he had posted dozens of sexual videos and images of the girl on OnlyFans, a booming online marketplace for homemade porn. One video, advertised for $20, showed the girl penetrating herself.

“Watch me get super wild,” read the caption. The man, Ethan Diaz, 22, was later charged with human trafficking and other offenses. He has pleaded not guilty.

OnlyFans makes reassuring promises to the public: It’s strictly adults-only, with sophisticated measures to monitor every user, vet all content and swiftly remove and report any child sexual abuse material. “We know the age and identity of everyone on our platform,” said CEO Keily Blair in a speech last year. “No children allowed, nobody under 18 on the platform.”

The Florida girl’s case, detailed in police records, court documents and interviews with law enforcement, undercuts OnlyFans’ claims. And it’s not an isolated example.

Reuters documented 30 complaints in US police and court records that child sexual abuse material appeared on the site between December 2019 and June 2024. The case files examined by the news organization cited more than 200 explicit videos and images of kids, including some adults having oral sex with toddlers. In one case, multiple videos of a minor remained on OnlyFans for more than a year, according to a child exploitation investigator who found them while assisting Reuters in its reporting and alerted authorities in June.

The impact on some victims was devastating. “After I found out about the video, I couldn’t go outside without being scared somebody saw my face,” a young man told a Massachusetts court after a film of his sexual encounter at age 15 with a volunteer football coach ended up for sale on OnlyFans.

Parents expressed disbelief and outrage. “There has to be accountability for these platforms,” the father of a 16-year-old boy from Kansas told Reuters. The family’s ordeal, he said, is “a wound that will never heal.”

Of the 30 cases reviewed by Reuters, more than half resulted in an arrest and at least three in criminal convictions. Most – including that of the missing Florida girl – involved adults accused of preying on minors to create explicit content and sell it on the site. In other cases, minors got past OnlyFans vetting to purvey their own sexually explicit material, police records show. In the case involving toddlers, a man used the site to send another man more than 100 files featuring the abuse of children of all ages.

The 30 cases almost certainly understate the presence of child sexual abuse material on OnlyFans. Reuters used public records laws to obtain documents mentioning OnlyFans from more than 250 of the largest US law enforcement agencies. While nearly half the agencies provided records, many heavily redacted them or declined to disclose any cases involving children, citing state laws to protect minors’ identities.

In response to detailed questions from Reuters, a company spokesperson said: “OnlyFans is proud of the work we do to aggressively target, report, and support the investigations and prosecutions of anyone who seeks to abuse our platform in this way.”

The spokesperson said OnlyFans had “rigorous safety controls” and voluntarily reports all suspected cases of child sexual abuse material to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, or NCMEC, a US nonprofit designated by Congress to collect and disseminate tips to law enforcement. OnlyFans also works closely with law enforcement, charities, governments and other groups to “ensure we remain an industry leader in this field,” the spokesperson said.

Conversation, Person, Adult
Keily Blair, CEO of OnlyFans, speaks at The Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival in New York City, U.S., May 22, 2024. Photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters

OnlyFans didn’t respond to most of Reuters’ questions about the cases in this story, including how child abuse material was able to evade its monitoring and whether it has kept its revenue from accounts involving minors. None of the cases involved criminal charges against the website or its parent company, Fenix International. Reuters found no evidence that OnlyFans has been sued or held criminally liable for child sexual abuse content, according to a search of US and international legal databases.

Federal free-speech protections have largely immunized social media platforms from liability for abusive content posted by their users. But as concerns mount about online harms – particularly involving children – Congress is seeking to toughen federal laws to hold the platforms accountable.

At a US Senate hearing in January on the effects of social media, lawmakers lambasted Meta and four other major platforms for allegedly failing to sufficiently protect children. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged at the hearing to do better.

OnlyFans, which wasn’t summoned to the Senate hearing, has been praised by sex workers for making porn safer and more profitable. Celebrities and social media influencers, teachers and mothers boast that the platform has made them rich. Its 3.2 million content creators typically sell explicit images and videos for a monthly subscription fee, plus one-off payments, keeping 80% of the sales. OnlyFans takes the rest – a cut that yielded almost $1.1 billion in revenue in 2022, its latest financial disclosures show.

Those subscriptions – effectively, a paywall around nearly every OnlyFans creator – make the site difficult to scrutinize. Most content is inaccessible to non-subscribers and therefore harder to find and monitor compared to platforms such as Facebook or X.

This can impede investigations of alleged child abuse on OnlyFans, said Matt W.J. Richardson, a child exploitation investigator with the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative, a US nonprofit whose work includes identifying illegal content online. “It’s really hard to know specifically or exactly how much is on there,” he said.

Visitors to can only search for creators by their account names; they cannot search by interest category. This makes creators heavily dependent on popular social media sites to drive traffic to their OnlyFans accounts.

Some predators also use these mainstream sites to find minors to exploit on OnlyFans, police records show.

That’s how Diaz, the New Jersey man, allegedly ensnared the Florida girl. Reuters retraced her journey to OnlyFans from interviews with detectives, court records, police reports and bodycam footage. It began on Snapchat, a popular online hangout for teens, where she caught Diaz’s eye.

‘Romeo pimps’

He opened with a deception.

The girl had been posting naked photos of herself on Snapchat. Diaz messaged her in February 2023, posing as a woman who – with a boyfriend’s help – had made lots of money selling such photos. Did the girl want to meet him?

Diaz then introduced himself as the boyfriend, messaging her under his own name. He gained her trust. He bought her a cell phone and told her she was beautiful, said St. Johns County Sheriff’s Detective Edward Scoggins, who investigated the case. Before long, the detective recalled, Diaz said he loved her and wanted to be with her forever.

Such tactics are often used by “Romeo pimps” who use “love bombing” and gifts to “manipulate somebody into doing things they wouldn’t otherwise do,” said Scoggins.

Diaz enticed the girl into making hardcore videos featuring masturbation and sex toys and then sold them on an OnlyFans account he controlled, police say. The girl also posted sexual content of herself to the account, allegedly under Diaz’s direction.

Then, on April 30 last year, Diaz flew in from New Jersey to film himself having sex with her. Porn with two people was “more desirable” on OnlyFans than videos of her solo, he told the girl. He picked her up in a white Tesla and drove her to an Airbnb 15 minutes from her home. He took her shopping and bought her lingerie, jewelry and shoes, according to Scoggins and police photos of the items and receipts.

Document, Receipt, Text
Items, including shoes, retrieved by deputies from the house Ethan Diaz rented are shown in an undated handout provided by St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in St. Augustine, Florida, U.S. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Handout via Reuters

When sheriff’s deputies discovered them at the Airbnb, Diaz had already filmed six sex videos with the girl, prosecutors said. He was arrested before he could post them on OnlyFans.

Still, over about three months in 2023, Diaz was able to post as many as 100 images and videos of the girl on the site, Scoggins said.

Diaz evaded controls meant to hold account holders responsible for their own content, according to Scoggins and a review of OnlyFans policies. Under OnlyFans current rules, would-be creators must provide at least nine pieces of personally identifying information and documents, including bank details, a selfie while holding a government photo ID, and – in the United States – a social security number. All this is verified by human judgment and age-estimation technology that analyzes the selfie, says the company.

But Diaz set up an account and had another woman verify it as hers, Scoggins said. That woman, whom police didn’t identify, later quit OnlyFans. But her account remained live and accessible to Diaz. He filled it with videos of the girl and promoted the content on Snapchat and Discord, a messaging service popular with gamers, to draw customers to her OnlyFans page. He made about $10,000 from all three platforms, Scoggins said, and paid the girl $1,500.

A Snapchat spokesperson said the platform’s “robust measures” make it “difficult for teens to be discovered and contacted by strangers.” A Discord spokesperson said “child-harm content” had no place on the platform. Neither commented specifically on the case.

Diaz is awaiting trial in state court, charged with human trafficking, multiple counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child and other crimes. In a statement, James Hill, his Florida lawyer, noted that Diaz was “only 21” when arrested. “From the date of his arrest, he has been aggressively fighting these charges against him,” Hill added. “He is, by law, presumed innocent.”

If found guilty of the charges, Diaz faces a mandatory life sentence.

Meanwhile, the girl has been left scarred, the family told the state attorney’s office. “No physical injuries,” a family member said in a written statement, “but emotional trauma.”

‘We see everything’

OnlyFans has made online safety central to its image.

“We moderate all of the content on our platform. Every text, every message, every audio clip, every livestream, everything gets moderated. We see everything,” CEO Blair said at a TEDx talk in 2023. “We’re doing it to keep our community safe.”

The company spokesperson said “the lack of anonymity and absence of end-to-end encryption on OnlyFans” allow law enforcement to investigate reports of illegal content on the site. End-to-end encryption keeps data entirely private between sender and recipient.

Some child-protection groups have praised OnlyFans. NCMEC, the US-based clearinghouse, said the company participates in voluntary initiatives to detect and remove abusive content and has safety measures, such as age and identity checks, that some other sites don’t. NCMEC, which is heavily funded by the US Justice Department, said it receives no financial support from OnlyFans.

The Internet Watch Foundation, a British nonprofit focused on eradicating online child sexual abuse, calls OnlyFans “an industry leader in online safety.” The foundation said OnlyFans pays 90,000 pounds ($114,000) a year for its services designed to detect images of child abuse.

A Reuters investigation published in March, however, found flaws in the website’s moderation process for adult content. In more than 120 cases in the United States and 18 in Britain, adults complained that sexually explicit material had been posted without their consent, in violation of OnlyFans rules and, in some cases, criminal statutes. An OnlyFans spokesperson said misuse of its platform is rare.

Underage users can also slip past OnlyFans’ monitoring and post their own explicit material for sale, police records and interviews show. A 19-year-old Maryland woman, Monie Graham, told Reuters she set up two accounts as a minor, both times evading the company’s age verification system.

After excelling in high school and graduating a year early in June 2022, Graham rebelled, she and her mother, Krystal McKeever, said. Graham was coming home late at night, getting into fights and refusing to get a job. McKeever kicked her out.

By that September, Graham said she turned to OnlyFans out of desperation. “I felt scared, I didn’t know what to do. I just needed a way to make money. So that’s when I was just like, okay, let me start an OnlyFans.”

Using the driver’s license of an adult acquaintance, she said, she set up an OnlyFans account and began selling sexually explicit material of herself. Soon, she was making money.

McKeever said she discovered the account in December 2022, tipped off by friends. They sent her a flurry of alarming texts with screenshots and recordings they had discovered on Graham’s OnlyFans account showing the girl having sex with “grown men,” according to a police report the mother filed.

The words “HORNY HOURS” were emblazoned on the girl’s OnlyFans profile page at that time, according to a screenshot viewed by Reuters. She used Twitter – now called X – and Instagram to promote the page, McKeever told police. “I have a sale going on,” the girl posted on Instagram. “Next 5 subscribers are only $5.”

Instagram parent company Meta didn’t comment on the case but said it doesn’t allow the sharing or solicitation of child sexual exploitation content. X declined to comment.

McKeever reported the underage sex videos to OnlyFans and offered to provide the child’s birth certificate, she said. She received a message from OnlyFans saying it would investigate and get back to her, she said. The girl’s OnlyFans account remained live on the site for weeks.

“I kept checking it every day and it was still up there,” McKeever said. “They never reached back out to me.”

McKeever wanted to press charges against OnlyFans for facilitating illegal content that exploited her child, she said. But when she contacted police in Baltimore County, Maryland, in December 2022, the officer said she couldn’t, “because he wouldn’t even know who to write the charge up against,” McKeever recalled.

A spokesperson for the Baltimore County Police Department declined to comment on McKeever’s statement. Reuters couldn’t reach the officer, who the spokesperson said no longer works at the department.

Frustrated, McKeever said she called the Federal Bureau of Investigation and pleaded for help in getting the videos removed. Ultimately, a county police detective got them taken down, according to the police spokesperson. Within a few weeks, the teen’s entire account was closed, McKeever said.

But Graham found another way onto OnlyFans. She asked her Instagram followers if anyone had an OnlyFans account they weren’t using, and a woman “just gave it to me,” she told Reuters. While still underage, Graham said, she started posting content on the new account.

“I wouldn’t want an underage kid doing what I did,” she said. “But at the same time, I had to do what I had to do.”

Reuters was assisted by Richardson, the child exploitation investigator, in tracing Graham’s activity on OnlyFans. He confirmed finding several sexually explicit videos of Graham that had been posted on the newer account on January 4, 2023, months before Graham’s 18th birthday.

The videos were watermarked with the name of Graham’s closed OnlyFans account and had simply been reposted to the newer one. They had been sitting in that account, seemingly undetected by OnlyFans, for 16 months. Richardson reported the videos in June to NCMEC, and the account was shut down within days.

NCMEC declined to comment on the case but said all CyberTipline reports are shared with law enforcement for possible investigation.

OnlyFans declined to explain how the videos evaded its detection for so long.

Clothing, Shirt, Face
Matt Richardson, a child abuse investigator with the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative, poses for a picture in Alexandria, Virginia, US June 4, 2024. Photo by Nathan Howard/Reuters
Dangers and dollar signs

For some children, bypassing age controls is a gateway to an alluring world.

OnlyFans “presents itself as a platform that provides unrivaled access to influencers, celebrities and models,” said Elly Hanson, a clinical psychologist and researcher who focuses on preventing sexual abuse and reducing its impact. “This is an attractive mix to many teens, who are pulled into its world of commodified sex, unprepared for what this entails.”

In addition to the 30 police complaints of child sexual content on OnlyFans, Reuters found another 17 cases in which minors allegedly had OnlyFans accounts but showed no indication they had posted sexual content of themselves. In some of those cases, the police files made it clear that no sexual content of a child was posted; in others, it was impossible to establish due to redactions and limited information.

Even so, for a child to possess an account violates OnlyFans’ bedrock adults-only policy.

In one case in Riverview, Florida, police learned of a 15-year-old girl’s OnlyFans account in March 2023 after her classmates reported to school authorities that she was promoting it in group chats with other students.

The girl’s father told police she admitted to creating the account to “exploit men” and make money by posting nude images of women taken from the internet, pretending they were hers, according to a report by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The father told Reuters he doesn’t know how his daughter was able to create the OnlyFans account and said the company should keep children off the site.

“A kid may only see dollar signs,” he said. “But they’re not understanding the dangers.”

‘People love your video’

Some children sound their own alarm.

In April 2021, a 17-year-old boy walked into the Boston Police Department to report that a volunteer high-school football coach almost twice his age was selling a sexually explicit video of the teen on OnlyFans.

Details of the case come from previously unreported court filings, including screenshots of messages between the two, an interview with the lead prosecutor on the case and an emotional statement the victim read out in court last December.

The boy was 15, but listed his age as 18, when he met the coach, Kharee Louis-Jeune, on a dating app in 2019.

Louis-Jeune, of Brockton, Massachusetts, convinced the teen to let him record the two having oral sex in a Boston parking lot, insisting he wouldn’t share the video with anyone. Soon after, the boy told Louis-Jeune his true age. But the sexual relationship continued, on and off, for at least another six months.

In late 2019, the boy discovered the video had been posted on OnlyFans. He cut and dyed his hair, petrified that someone would recognize him, but soon the video began circulating at his high school. A classmate asked “if I had been sucking any penises in cars,” he recalled in his court statement. “My heart dropped and he ended up showing me the video.”

In March 2021, the boy had a final meeting with Louis-Jeune and told him he didn’t want to be touched. He secretly took down the man’s license plate number in case he needed it for a police report.

Two weeks later, Louis-Jeune messaged the teen: “People love your video.” Louis-Jeune sent a link to the OnlyFans site, where he was selling the parking-lot video for $6.

Later that day, the boy reported him to Boston Police. Authorities used a search warrant to obtain the video from OnlyFans. Part of the caption on the 36-second footage read, “Jamaican boo loves older men.”

In June 2021, police arrested Louis-Jeune. He initially denied knowing the victim or having an OnlyFans account. But police found the video on his phone.

Louis-Jeune, 36, pleaded guilty in December in Suffolk County Superior Court to charges of child rape, distribution of child sexual abuse material, and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to three to five years in prison and ordered not to use OnlyFans. His lawyer declined to comment.

His victim, now an adult, wants to move on. “I just want this to be over so I can pretend it never happened,” he told the court.

Without his “courage,” said Ashley Polin, chief of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Unit, “I don’t think this ever would’ve crossed my desk.”

Outdoors, Car, Transportation
A drone view shows the parking lot where in 2019, 31-year-old Kharee Louis-Jeune recorded a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old high school boy which Louis-Jeune later posted and sold on OnlyFans, in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, US, April 24, 2024. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters
A risky business

OnlyFans has been hit before by accusations that it doesn’t adequately protect children.

In 2021, the BBC detailed several cases of explicit videos on OnlyFans involving teenagers. In response, OnlyFans’ parent company, Fenix, said it closed accounts it found to have indecent images of children. That same year, 102 Republican and Democratic members of the US House of Representatives called on the Justice Department to investigate child sexual abuse on OnlyFans. The Justice Department told the lawmakers three months later that it couldn’t confirm or deny it was investigating OnlyFans. Contacted recently, a department spokesperson declined to comment further.

More reports of child abuse could pose a risk to the website. Mastercard, Visa and Discover have shown they will take dramatic steps when faced with allegations that their cards are paying for child sexual abuse videos and images.

In 2020, the card companies cut ties with Pornhub, another big adults-only platform, after a public outcry over alleged child abuse material and other illegal content. It was a painful hit, stopping card payments for Pornhub’s paid content and forcing it to rely more on ads and sales of user data.

OnlyFans says it doesn’t sell user data or allow third-party ads. That leaves it starkly dependent upon Mastercard, Visa and Discover: The website only accepts transactions with cards issued by them.

The three card companies said they still don’t accept payments from Pornhub. They didn’t comment further.

Pornhub parent company Aylo said it has “far-reaching safeguards” to prevent abuses on its platform and that any ongoing payment restrictions it faces are based on inaccurate or outdated information.

OnlyFans’ fortunes also lean heavily on other social media sites. The platform’s search function doesn’t allow users to trawl for content; they need to already know the name of the creator they want to subscribe to. That’s why OnlyFans creators often advertise on mainstream sites, attracting subscribers using sexualized photos, video snippets, and – on X – hardcore porn.

Half of the 30 police complaints about child exploitation on OnlyFans said Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media played a role in promoting the content.

X, then called Twitter, helped 25-year-old Wyatt Maxwell earn thousands of dollars on OnlyFans before federal investigators discovered he had been exploiting a boy.

Maxwell, a cabaret singer, repeatedly filmed himself and a 16-year-old Kansas boy having sex at Maxwell’s home and a local park in 2020 and 2021. He posted about 20 videos on OnlyFans and a smaller rival website, JustFor.Fans, charging subscribers $15 a month on both platforms.

To promote his content, Maxwell used his Twitter accounts – including one called @someones_son. It paid off: Maxwell told a federal investigator he hauled in between $3,000 and $10,000 a month from OnlyFans and JustFor.Fans.

Ultimately, prosecutors said, he earned more than $49,000 on OnlyFans alone. OnlyFans’ cut would have been about $10,000, based on the standard 20% share the site takes.

In April, Maxwell pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to produce child pornography. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years. Maxwell’s lawyer declined to comment.

A JustFor.Fans spokesperson said the website was informed about Maxwell’s account by the FBI in February 2021 and immediately shut it down. “We take any activities involving minors incredibly seriously,” he added.

The boy’s father said the sexual exploitation was damaging enough to his family. That companies profited from it, he said, was just as bad if not worse.

X declined to comment.

Snapchat told Reuters that using the platform to promote OnlyFans, or any pornographic content, violates its policies. Meta said Instagram doesn’t allow users to share links to porn sites but doesn’t consider OnlyFans to be solely a porn site.

‘A little disturbing’

Once creators have built an audience, they can promote and sell content through chats or direct messages with subscribers. Those messages, along with all other content, are moderated, CEO Blair said in her TEDx talk and other speeches last year.

In one case, however, the messaging function allowed one man to share with another 125 explicit videos and images featuring sex acts involving at least 13 children. The sharing of the files went undetected for at least seven months, along with the lurid messages the two men exchanged about them, before OnlyFans reported the case to NCMEC. The case is detailed in documents Reuters obtained from the Broward County State Attorney’s Office in Florida. The documents didn’t record the origin of the material the two men shared or the identities of the exploited children.

Christopher Varney, 60, of Florida and Abel Esquivel, 35, of San Francisco started direct messaging on OnlyFans in August 2019.

Esquivel paid $5 a month to subscribe to Varney’s account, FTLgloryHole, which featured footage of Varney performing oral sex on strangers at his Fort Lauderdale-area home. The affidavit didn’t specify whether any were minors.

Esquivel “became interested in child pornography” during the pandemic, he told investigators. He said he used OnlyFans to talk to others with similar interests.

In September 2020, Varney began asking his subscriber, Esquivel, for content: “You have any vids of y0ung you can upload?” Varney used a zero instead of the letter O, possibly as code. The word “young” is sometimes flagged by porn sites as denoting possible child sexual abuse material.

Several days later, Esquivel sent Varney eight files containing videos of boys aged eight to 16 masturbating and engaged in anal penetration. He sent three more videos, including one that showed a man sexually assaulting a young boy grimacing in pain, the records said. In March 2021, Esquivel sent videos and images of adults engaging in oral sex with toddlers, including one who was 18 to 24 months old, according to the case file.

“That’s a little disturbing,” Varney wrote after viewing the material.

When Esquivel apologized, Varney responded, “lol it’s all good. The toddler stuff just kinda freaks me out and a couple of them seemed like they weren’t exactly willing.”

Esquivel continued sending child sexual abuse material to Varney, including content that showed boys in bondage, according to a report by the San Francisco Police Department, which also investigated the case.

OnlyFans ultimately reported the illegal material to NCMEC in May 2021, seven months after it was first shared, leading to Esquivel’s and Varney’s arrests. The OnlyFans spokesperson didn’t respond to a question about why the company failed to discover the material sooner.

Esquivel pleaded guilty to possession and was sentenced in June 2023 in San Francisco Superior Court to two years’ probation and 13 days in jail but was given credit for time served. Varney pleaded no contest to an obscenity count in Florida’s 17th Judicial Circuit Court. He was sentenced to 60 months’ probation in July 2023 and ordered to stay away from children. Possessing and sharing child sexual abuse material generally carry a lighter sentence than producing it.

In a memo explaining the charge, prosecutors said Varney justified his conduct by saying he “played along” with his subscriber to avoid getting “a reputation for being judgmental.”

A view shows the headquarters of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. June 4, 2024. REUTERS/Nathan Howard
‘I do realize it’s illegal’

Online child sexual abuse can be hard to investigate and prosecute. Nearly a third of the US police cases Reuters examined were closed without an arrest. In some instances, investigators couldn’t identify children who appeared on OnlyFans. In others, they cited a lack of evidence, exhausted leads or uncooperative witnesses.

One young woman in Lakeland, Florida, dropped a complaint because she said she partly blamed herself, not her adult partner, for a filmed encounter posted on OnlyFans when she was 17, records show. Police closed the case of another minor in Houston because they said she seemed to be, of her own accord, selling content on the site that showed her and her boyfriend engaged in sex acts.

Because of OnlyFans’ paywalls, investigators must rely heavily on witnesses who happen to spot child content on the site and report it to parents or police.

It was a witness who in December 2022 tipped off authorities that a 16-year-old New York girl was featured in an OnlyFans video. She had been missing for a week after running off with a man in his 30s whom she’d met in a grocery store.

Police quickly identified the man as Matthew Richardson (unrelated to the child exploitation investigator with a similar name). An officer found Richardson’s OnlyFans account – listed under the pseudonym Skylar Ravenwood – where an FBI agent located a video of him having sex with the girl.

The next day, on December 9, 2022, a police officer in Ohio found the pair in a stolen car at a highway rest stop and arrested Richardson. When FBI agents asked Richardson if he was aware that having sex with a 16-year-old was against the law, he replied, “I do realize it’s illegal,” according to a federal affidavit.

Richardson, now 36, has pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of producing and distributing child pornography. His lawyer declined to comment.

Local police and federal authorities also declined to comment on the case, including whether they had alerted OnlyFans to the arrest.

OnlyFans says it continuously scans its website and can deactivate accounts that violate its rules. As of mid-June, the video allegedly featuring the girl appeared to have been removed. But, for $20 a month, people could still subscribe to Richardson’s account. –

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