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A southeast Michigan girl who authorities say was exploited in a pornographic webcam scheme led federal agents to a person they describe as the ringleader of a group, a married man with children.

Authorities say the scheme involves tricking youths into exposing themselves online.

The victim told FBI officials in June that she had visited a website chatroom with four or five other guests believed to be teen boys, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The “teens” reportedly urged her to strip and perform sexually explicit acts on camera.

Investigators reviewed logs for the unidentified website, identified more than 50 minors believed to have been victimized, then tracked down the adult men who frequented the site. One of the users eventually arrested for his role in a related scheme and accused of collecting more than 1,000 child pornography images told them he was active with a group that had been targeting girls aged 15-17 multiple times each week.

That group also operated on another website and included members whose roles ranged from luring girls to showing previously recorded videos of minors performing sex acts, authorities said in the affidavit.

Federal officials determined the group’s leader was someone with the username “New York Target #2” who “targeted minors one-on-one, recording them engaging in sexual activity via web camera and then sharing it with the other … members,” the court document said.

A probe alleges that the leader, whom authorities identified as Christian Maire, 38, of Binghamton, New York, had been sending explicit messages to the Oakland County girl when she was 14 years old.

Investigators traced Maire’s IP address and executed a search warrant Monday at the home he shares with his wife and their two children.

Federal agents said he told them he had visited the website where the Michigan girl interacted “with the intention of viewing child pornography,” authorities said.

He now faces federal charges of producing child porn and participating in a child exploitation enterprise as well as coercion and enticement of a minor in Oakland County and elsewhere.

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