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HAMMOND — A Crown Point man at the center of a “sextortion” case in which he stalked and released nude photos of a North Carolina girl was sentenced Wednesday to 22½ years in prison, court records show.

Adam Russell Hegyi, 31, was indicted in July 2017 on accusations he produced child pornography featuring an underage girl and a second underage female victim.

He pleaded guilty last year to producing child pornography, records show.

In the first case, he is accused of stalking the North Carolina girl online and releasing nude photos the girl previously sent to him via multiple social media phone applications.

Prosecutors painted Hegyi as a predator who went to great lengths to win the trust of two, young impressionable girls.

"(Hegyi) ... slowly won their trust by giving them the attention and affirmation all teenage girls crave, but not all are lucky enough to receive. ... This cycle of sexual abuse was coupled with verbal and psychological abuse if the victims did not do exactly as he directed," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum last month.

Under the terms of his sentencing, he must also be placed on supervised release for 17½ years after his release and pay $50,000 in restitution.

Digital images of at least three other girls and one boy who appeared under age 18 were discovered during the investigation into Hegyi and discussed in court last year.

According to the criminal complaint, Hegyi, between Jan. 1, 2015, and June 2, 2017, used social media outlets — including KiK, Snapchat, Skype, Instagram, Facebook and FaceTime — to communicate with a girl beginning when she was 12.

Hegyi and the teen allegedly engaged in sex acts in video chat and exchanged nude photos after the two met online through Omegle, an online chat service that pairs random users together, court records show.

In October 2015, the teen became distraught and filed a police report with the Rowan County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Department and turned over her cellphone as evidence.

At least seven images of Hegyi’s genitals were found on her phone, along with photos the teen had sent to Hegyi and screenshots of a Skype video conversation, court records show.

Even after the girl contacted police, Hegyi allegedly continued to contact her — at one point threatening to rape and kill her and her family, documents show. Hegyi also allegedly encouraged the girl to kill herself, court records show.

Eventually, the girl’s mother received a nude photo of the girl via Facebook messenger, court records state. That same day, the girl’s father received a Facebook message purporting to be from Hegyi, alleging his daughter constantly texts him and that he has the family’s home address.

Then, on May 30, Hegyi went even further by sending multiple nude photos of the girl to classmates, according to court records.

Police later determined four Facebook accounts allegedly utilized by Hegyi stemmed from the same computer IP address after they submitted emergency disclosure requests to the social media giant.

Hegyi is scheduled to be sent to a federal prison facility in Marion, Illinois, and participate in a sex offender treatment and residential drug treatment programs and be given credit for time served awaiting sentencing on this charge.

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Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.