Stephanie Lak, 36, has allegedly admitted to sending and receiving about 100 files of child sexual abuse materials and discussing child sex abuse online
A Boston-area nanny has allegedly admitted to sending and receiving about 100 files of child sexual abuse material and discussing child abuse with others online.
Stephanie Lak, 36, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, was arrested on Tuesday, just over a week after authorities raided her home and seized a laptop and three smartphones.
She later confessed to using the Kik messaging application and the username, SallieDallie69, associated with a nationwide investigation into child pornography, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office reports.
Lak is now being charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of material of a child in a sex act.
‘The alleged perpetrator in this case is a woman,’ Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement.
‘We as a society need to unlearn many of our ingrained assumptions regarding who commits, and who can be a victim of, sexual assault and rape.’
According to court documents, Lak began taking lewd photos and video of children on Christmas Eve 2020. The documents detail the disturbing videos showing toddlers and young children being sexually abused that Lak allegedly sent by messaging app, CBS Boston reports.
In one virtual conversation, Rollins’ office said, Lak allegedly encouraged a caregiver from Minnesota to harm children in his care, and offered suggestions for how he could do so.
‘The defendant is having these conversations with someone who is actively sexually abusing his children and encouraging him to do that, and ways that he should do that,’ a prosecutor said at Lak’s arraignment on Wednesday, noting that Lak may have more victims who have not yet come forward.
‘It’s clear she has access to children,’ the prosecutor said. ‘She has a long history of being a nanny.’
Lak had been working as a babysitter and nanny for several years
She remained active on sittercity.com, a website where she was able to find employment as a caregiver. The site said they did a background check on Lak and found no criminal activity
The FBI is now asking for any parents or guardians who may have used Lak as a nanny or babysitter email [email protected]
Lak remained active on the website sittercity.com, an online marketplace for nannies and sitters, until last month, Rollins said, using the site to find work as a local nanny and babysitter over the past few years.
The company told CBS Boston that it did a background check on Lak when she joined the site and ‘no criminal information was ever discovered.’
‘There is no bigger betrayal than people tasked with teaching, protecting or caring for children sexually exploiting them and violating them,’ Rollins said in a statement.
‘And to be very clear, possessing and disseminating child pornography hurts children,’ she said. ‘Do not be fooled. Each still image or video chronicles an act of violence, sexual assault and/or rape. And when those images or videos are shared with other pedophiles online, that child is abused and victimized in perpetuity.’
The alleged victims were 5- and 3-year-old girls who have not been named to protect their identities, according to WCVB.
Lak’s actions were discovered in March, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the Boston Police Department, reporting that eight separate images of child sexual abuse were being trafficked over an IP address in Roxbury.
The Center had received a CyberTip from Kik that a user had uploaded and shared files believed to be child sexual abuse material.
FBI agents in Minneapolis were also investigating the caregiver there, when they recovered a chart linking back to Lak.
The police and the FBI then joined forces for the April 15 raid on Lak’s home, shocking some neighbors, one of whom told CBS it was ‘very alarming, especially since we have children of all ages … living on the property.’
That same man also NBC Boston, ‘I would never expect to see her doing anything of being accused of such a horrific act.’
Lak’s actions were discovered in March when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the Boston Police Department, reporting that eight separate images of child sexual abuse were being trafficked over an IP address in Roxbury.
Police traced the IP address back to Lak’s home, and recovered a computer and three phones. She was arrested on Tuesday, and is now out on bail
Lak isn’t permitted to be near children or work in childcare as conditions of her bail package
Lak was active in the Boston arts scene, organizing an annual three to four-day festival of ‘improvisational sound, movement and video’ known as X-Fest.
The event has since been taken over by her co-organizer who identified themselves as Dei Xhrist on the event’s Facebook page.
Xhrist wrote that ‘as a member of the Lowell/Boston arts scene,’ Lak ‘played a significant role in keeping X-Fest going.’
‘I aided them with on-site organization and took over the event entirely after she disappeared during 2019’s site negotiations,’ Xhrist wrote in a post yesterday. ‘I know them well enough to understand that they have significant psychological problems, but this is unprecedented and unforgivable.’
The FBI is now asking asking any parents or guardians who may have been in contact with Lak to email [email protected] and provide a name and the best contact information to get in touch with the investigative team.
All identities will be kept confidential, Rollins’ office said, and victims may be eligible for ‘certain services and rights under state and/or federal law.’
Lak is now out on a $5,000 bail, which includes a series of conditions, including she stay away from children under 18 and have no employment involving childcare.
She is due back in court on May 25.