Westchester man, 67, charged with convincing Illinois teen to engage in sexual activity

A Westchester County man was arrested Wednesday on federal charges of sexual exploitation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced.

James Collins Jr., 67, is accused of convincing a minor in Illinois to engage in sexually explicit activity.

Collins, a resident of Bedford Hills, N.Y., was charged with one count of attempting to entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, officials said in a news release.

Under the username jimc20237221, Collins chatted with the teen from September to November 2023 and persuaded them “to engage in sexually explicit activity and send Collins videos and photos of such activity.”

If convicted of sexual exploitation, Collins could be sentenced to up to 30 years behind bars. Enticing a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“This case underlines the urgent need for law enforcement to continue its efforts to protect children from those who prey on them,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “As today’s arrest shows, we will use every tool available to law enforcement to investigate and prosecute those alleged to have sexually exploited children.”

Collins had been previously arrested for a different sex crime, authorities said.

On Nov. 7, 2023, he was taken into custody by police in New Castle after trying to persuade an undercover agent posing as a 15-year-old male to meet at a library “for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities.”

He was out on $7,500 bail at the time of Wednesday’s arrest.

Westchester County is located just north of New York City on the east bank of the Hudson River.