A 27-year-old Pennsylvania man convicted of sexually extorting and harassing more than a dozen females on Snapchat was sentenced to spend decades in prison after his yearslong campaign of terror led one young woman to take her own life.
After 21-year-old Lindsey Marie Piccone went missing in September 2016, her parents in October 2016 tearfully and urgently spoke into a news camera, held up pictures of her, and begged her to return home. The next month, she was found dead of an apparent suicide in Tyler State Park. It would take several years before investigators learned that Piccone was one of numerous young female victims targeted by Ian Pisarchuk online.
Court records reviewed by Law&Crime show that Bensalem Township’s Pisarchuk pleaded guilty back in March 2022 to 67 crimes, including child pornography possession, enticing a minor to produce child pornography, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, sexual extortion, terroristic threats, harassment, cyber harassment of a child, and stalking (see the publicly available criminal docket for more).
Prosecutors with the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office noted that Pisarchuk was not charged with Piccone’s death, but he was convicted for sexually extorting her. In the aftermath of Piccone’s death, state legislators moved to pass Lindsey’s Law, which specifically created sentencing enhancements for convicted predators like Pisarchuk responsible for the bodily harm or deaths of sextortion victims.
“On November 1, 2016, Jeannette and Paul Piccone received the news that no parent hopes to hear. Their daughter, 21-year-old Lindsey Piccone was found dead from an apparent suicide. It wouldn’t be for nearly five years from that awful day that the Piccone’s had some understanding as to why their beautiful daughter took her own life,” wrote Rep. Kathleen “K.C.” Tomlinson (R-Bucks), who sponsored the bill. “Lindsey was the victim of ‘sextortion.’ That is, efforts by one man to demand sexually explicit photos and videos from unsuspecting victims. When this monster didn’t get what he wanted, he would bully and threaten the women, some, girls as young as 12, with violence, by revealing their photographs online, or sending the images to their friends and family. Lindsey was bullied and threatened to the point that shortly before taking her own life, she sent her predator sexual photos. This did not have to happen.”
Notably, the ACLU opposed the law, saying that the existing law on the books was sufficient.
Describing the defendant’s crimes as “cruel,” “disturbing” and “pervasive,” the Bucks County DA’s Office said in a press release that Pisarchuk anonymously used Snapchat to prey upon more than 15 victims, some of whom were just 12 years old. According to the DA’s office, Pisarchuk did not face charges in the case until June 2021, nearly five years after Piccone was found dead. The suspect was linked to crimes against Piccone only after investigators forensically examined his phone in connection with crimes against a young girl who said Pisarchuk threatened to post nude images of her online. Per the DA’s office, investigators discovered that Pisarchuk made the same kinds of threats against Piccone before her death:
A forensic examination of Pisarchuk’s phone yielded dozens of sexually explicit photos and videos of both juveniles and adults, as well as information directing them to several additional victims. One of the victims identified was 21-year-old Lindsey Piccone.
In 2021, Bensalem Township Detectives were able to determine that Ian Pisarchuk had messaged Piccone repeatedly on Sept. 5, 2016, through an anonymous Snapchat account, demanding that she send him nude photographs. If she didn’t, he threatened he would ruin her life.
After she sent him photos, Pisarchuk said he would be contacting her again the next day. It was that day that Piccone was reported missing by her parents, leaving behind a note that she had been contacted by an unknown Snapchat user who threatened to expose and blackmail her. Piccone’s body was found two months later.
The DA’s office said that Jeannette and Paul Piccone were in court at Thursday’s sentencing hearing and made a victim impact statement describing their daughter as their “miracle baby.” Lindsey Piccone was born in Philadelphia prematurely on Dec. 5, 1994.
“Lindsey was our world,” the mother said, tearfully adding that their “world and lives were changed forever.”
An obituary said that Piccone worked as a caregiver for the Magic Cottage School in Levittown before her death.
“She loved to be outdoors and always put her family and friends first,” said the obit.
President Judge Wallace H. Bateman, Jr. called Pisarchuk “perverted” and remarked upon the magnitude of the defendant’s crimes when sentencing him to 20 to 51 years behind bars.
“You have done something to them that they may never recover from,” Bateman said. “Only to satisfy your perverted state of mind.”
Deputy DA Brittney Kern called Pisarchuk’s crimes “truly horrific” but hoped that the successful prosecution would encourage other victims to come forward.
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