BENSALEM TWP., Pa. – A man from Bucks County harassed and threatened girls via a social media app, authorities say, and there may be more victims who have yet to share their stories.
Police say 25-year-old Ian Pisarchuk blackmailed many of the alleged victims, saying he had nude photos of them and he'd post them unless they sent more explicit photos and videos.
"This man absolutely preyed on our absolute most vulnerable, our children," said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub.
The Bensalem Police Department received a report in October 2020 that a juvenile was being harassed and threatened via the social media app Snapchat. An unidentified person threatened to post naked pictures of the juvenile if she did not send more naked pictures, according to a township police department news release.
Earlier this year, Snapchat provided Bensalem detectives with a specific IP address that led them to a residence in the 3000 block of Skyline Drive in Bensalem Township, police said.
Detectives responded to that address in March 2021 and made contact with Pisarchuk, who admitted to using Snapchat to communicate with girls and said he had been "forceful," according to the news release.
A forensic examination of his cell phone revealed several photographs and videos of naked females, some of whom have been identified as juveniles, township police said.
As a result of Pisarchuk's threats and extortion techniques, some of the females sent him more videos in fear that he would post videos or naked pictures of them online, police said.
"He threatened to harm them and their families if they did not comply with his demands, and this continued for years," said Bensalem Safety Director Fred Harran.
Bensalem police executed a search warrant at Pisarchuk's residence in June. Several electronic devices were seized.
Police believe Pisarchuk may also have been the person responsible for harassing 21-year-old Lindsey Piccone, who took her own life in September 2016.
"It was determined that Lindsey was harassed and extorted by an unknown person on Snapchat," said Harran. "At the time, Bensalem police tracked the IP address to Kutztown University."
However, investigators at the time were unable to pinpoint the person because there were too many IP addresses to narrow it down. Recently, though, another victim came forward, and Snapchat provided the specific IP address that led police to Pisarchuk's residence.
Police also found out Pisarchuk attended Kutztown University on a football scholarship at the time of Piccone's death. Pisarchuk attended Kutztown from 2014-2018, police said. Piccone had been reported missing and was found dead after taking her life in a Bucks County state park in 2016.
"The damage he has done and caused to families will never be reversed," Harran said.
Pisarchuck has been taken into custody. He faces multiple charges, including sexual extortion, enticing a minor to produce child pornography, possession of child pornography, stalking, and terroristic threats.
Bail was set at 10% of $2 million. Pisarchuk is currently being held at the Bucks County prison.
Police are asking anyone who has been the victim of "sextortion" or knows somebody who has — whether at the hands of Pisarchuk or someone else — to come forward.
"Please do not be ashamed if you are a victim," Weintraub said. "Know that we're in this fight for you."
Anyone with information relating to the investigation is urged to contact the Bensalem Police Department at 215-633-3719.