RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond man faces a 30-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to production of child sexual abuse materials.

According to court documents, 34-year-old Joshua Hitchener began messaging a 15-year-old girl online and convinced her to send explicit photos of herself to him.

Hitchener then used his possession of these photos as blackmail to get the victim to send more explicit photos and video. Hitchener also threatened to kidnap her, kill her family and “r*pe and beat [her] several times a day.”

Hitchener is scheduled to be sentenced on July 21. He faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Hitchener’s plea comes not long after the FBI’s Richmond field office began alerting parents to similar incidents of “sextortion.”

The FBI recommends parents take the following steps to protect their children online:

⦁ Consider restricting social media accounts.
⦁ Make information on social media accounts private. If social media accounts are open, a predator may be able to connect snippets of personal information to eventually obtain significant material for their use.
⦁ Be sensitive to the information you share online, especially personal information and passwords.
⦁ Remember anyone, predators included, can pretend to be anything or anyone online.
⦁ Be cautious of those you encounter initially.
⦁ Videos and photos should never be considered proof of identity.
⦁ Block or ignore messages from strangers.
⦁ Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and you’re asked to switch to a different platform.
⦁ Encourage all children to report suspicious or uncomfortable behavior to a trusted adult.

Victims of “sextortion” are asked to contact FBI Richmond at 804-261-1044 and to not delete evidence before law enforcement can forensically review it.