Roxbury, Massachusetts: On Wednesday, April 28 the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office announced that child pornography charges had been filed against a woman that had offered her services on SitterCity.com as recently as March 19, and investigators are concerned that there could be more victims.
"It's clear she has access to children," Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Nichole Poirier was quoted by the Boston Herald as saying. "She has a long history of being a nanny... and she has a sexual interest in children."
36-year-old Stephanie Lak has been charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of material of a child in a sex act. According to the statement released, Assistant District Attorney Nicole Poirier requested a cash bail of $50,000 but Judge Debra A. DelVecchio instead set bail at $5,000 but with conditions including barring employment in childcare and contact with children under the age of 18.
During the course of the investigation, which was launched on March 2 after a tip was received by the Boston Police Department's Crimes Against Children Unit from the National Center for Missing and Exploited children, a communication between Lak and another individual was discovered "in which she identifies herself as a nanny and was in a virtual conversation with a caregiver from Minnesota encouraging him to harm children in his care and, in fact, volunteered to assist him in doing so."
"There is no bigger betrayal than people tasked with teaching, protecting, or caring for children sexually exploiting and violating them," District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in the statement. "And to be very clear, possessing and disseminating child pornography hurts children. Do not be fooled. Each still image or video chronicles an act of violence, sexual assault and/or rape. And when those images or videos are shared with other pedophiles online, that child is abused and victimized in perpetuity.
"The alleged perpetrator in this case is a woman," Rollins continued. "We as a society need to unlearn many of our ingrained assumptions regarding who commits, and who can be a victim of, sexual assault and rape. I am grateful for the vigilance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the excellent work by the Boston Police Department's Crimes Against Children unit and the FBI's Human Trafficking- Child Exploitation Task Force."
Investigators are asking that anyone that has been in contact with Stephanie Lak, specifically in regards to care of a child or dependent, contact LakInvestigation@fbi.gov and provide a name and best contact information. A member of the investigation team will get in contact as soon as they are able. Identities of victims will be kept confidential.
A search warrant was served on April 15, 2021 by the Boston Police Department and the FBI's Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. During that search, a laptop and three cell phones were seized.
According to WCVB investigators located seven videos and photos that Lak had shared in a Kik chat. At this time, investigators have identified the victims as 5 and 3-year-old girls.
On April 27, Lak was interviewed by investigators is is said to have admitted to receiving and sending approximately 100 files depicting child sexual abuse as well as engaging in conversations with others online about the abuse of children.
Lak is scheduled to be back in court on May 25, 2021 where she will be represented by attorney Cory Mcalister.