Feds: Professional bodybuilder from Queens tried to produce child porn

REGO PARK, Queens (WABC) -- A man believed to be a professional bodybuilder was arrested in Queens Thursday morning on child pornography charges.

Police say 26-year-old Keith Liwanag was taken into custody at his apartment in Rego Park and charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography.

According to the criminal complaint, Liwanag used a Facebook account in September and October of 2016 to direct women in the Philippines to engage in sexual acts with children in exchange for money before and then produce and send child pornography over Facebook's private messaging service.

"As alleged, the defendant victimized vulnerable children abroad by soliciting photographs and videos of their sexual abuse in exchange for money," acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said. "The safety and protection of children is a priority for this office and our law enforcement partners, and we will pursue those who would endanger children to the fullest extent of the law."

Authorities say Liwanag sent several messages to a woman on September 8, 2016, asking her to sexually abuse a 6-year-old boy as part of a "show" in exchange for money. Then, on September 11, 2016, he allegedly sent and received messages from another woman about a "show" with the woman's son, offering her money to perform a sex act on him.

"This individual is alleged to have convinced women overseas to commit sexual acts with children in return for payment," ICE/Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Angel Melendez said. "His version of a 'show,' among other criminal acts against children, allegedly included enticing a mother to sexually abuse her own son for his pleasure. We will be relentless in our pursuit of child predators to ensure they face justice for their unfathomable acts."

It is further alleged that on October 12, 2016, Liwanag sent a message to a third woman, soliciting photographs of the sexual abuse of her child. In response, on October 27, 2016, investigators say the woman sent Liwanag two images depicting child abuse. Authorities say the evidence obtained during the course of the investigation includes 10 recorded video conferences between Liwanag and women engaged in the sexual abuse of children.

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