Law enforcement have arrested a nanny based in Boston on suspicion of sharing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) over the messaging app Kik.
An investigation was launched into 36-year-old Roxbury resident Stephanie Lak by the Boston Police Department Crimes Against Children Unit following the submission of a cyber-tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) on March 2.
Kik’s operator, MediaLab, notified NCMEC of an IP address that had been used to send at least eight files containing images of children aged five or younger being sexually abused.
Police traced the address back to Lak and obtained a search warrant for her home, which was executed on April 15. A laptop and three cellphones were seized by police as evidence from a boarding house on Woodville Street.
Lak was held on $5,000 bail after being arraigned on Wednesday on charges of possessing and distributing CSAM and was instructed by a judge to stay away from children.
District attorney Rachel Rollins said Lak had confessed to sharing more than 100 files depicting the sexual abuse of minors via Kik under the user name ‘sallydally69.’
Lak has worked in the childcare industry as a nanny and as a babysitter. Prosecutors said that she was active on the childcare services website Sittercity as recently as March 19.
Describing the threat Lak allegedly poses to children, prosecutor Nicole Poitier told the judge: “It’s clear she has access to children. She has a long history of being a nanny and a babysitter on that site as well as potential other sites and she has a sexual interest in children.”
In a statement, Sittercity said they had run four background checks on Lak before allowing her to advertise childcare services on their platform and none of them had found evidence of criminal activity. Lak’s Sittercity account was removed when the site’s operators learned of the police’s investigation into her digital communications.
Law enforcement are asking people who have had contact with Lak and think they may be able to identify alleged victims in this case to email firstname.lastname@example.org