BOSTON – A Lawrence resident convicted of child pornography and exploitation charges after sending pictures and videos to an undercover agent on social media was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, authorities said. 

Jakob Nieves, who also goes by the name Dakota, 21, was sentenced Wednesday to the three decades in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper. 

Nieves, who identifies and lives as a female, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography in August 2020, according to information released by the Department of Justice.  

Two of her victims were under age 4, authorities said. 

In 2019, as part of a probe into the use of Kik messenger for child pornography, an undercover agent communicated with Nieves on the social media platform, authorities said. 

"During the course of those communications, Nieves told the agent about the ways that she sexually abused two children known to her, and sent the undercover agent images and videos that Nieves had produced, which depicted Nieves sexually abusing one of those children," according to information released by the DOJ. 

Some of images and videos produced were taken in Nieves' bedroom in Lawrence, according to court papers. 

On Aug. 14, 2019, when agents searched Nieves’s home, she admitted to distributing images and videos of child pornography to a user she met in a Kik group geared toward individuals interested in pedophilia, authorities said. 

Forensic analysis of Nieves’ cell phone revealed pornographic images and videos of two children known to Nieves, both of whom were under the age of 4, as well as thousands of child pornography images depicting at least 175 victims personally unknown to Nieves, according to the DOJ statement. 

After she was charged, a federal judge refused to release Nieves ruling there were no conditions she could impose that "will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community," according to court records.

"The testimony at the detention hearing was unrefuted and the exhibits, which remain sealed due to their extremely graphic nature, were particularly disturbing and represent the most heinous conduct. The variety of photographs introduced into evidence represent the most egregious behavior," Judge Marianne Bowler wrote in the order.

Nieves had no previous criminal record and has been treated in the past for seizures and depression. She had also been taking hormones to assist in her transition and had been a daily user of marijuana, Bowler wrote. 

The charge of sexual exploitation of children provides for a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years and no more than 30 years in prison. The charge of distribution of child pornography provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison.

The case is part of Project Safe Childhood, launched in 2006 by the DOJ nationally to protect children from exploitation and abuse. 

Project Safe Childhood combines federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims, according to the DOJ. 

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill. 

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