Sand Springs man sentenced to 35-plus years in prison for child sexual abuse
A Sand Springs man was sentenced Thursday to more than 35 years in prison for coercion and enticement of a child and abusive sexual contact, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Jeremy Nicholas Botonis, 44, was convicted by a federal jury on May 6, 2022, of sexually abusing a 13-year-old in 2019.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy sentenced Botonis to 35 years and four months for coercion and enticement of a child and two years for abusive sexual contact based on actions that took place in Indian Country. Those sentences are to run concurrently, followed by seven years of post-custody supervised release.
Jurors found that Botonis sent hundreds of sexually explicit messages to the boy and touched him in a sexual manner, according to U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson’s office.
“Devious individuals like Botonis use social media to gain access, groom their victims and violate their trust,” Johnson said Friday.
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“The victim in this case displayed incredible strength as he testified and is to be commended along with our law enforcement partners and federal prosecutors Chris Nassar and Stephanie Ihler for ensuring Botonis was held accountable for his predatory crimes.”
During an outing in the woods on Aug. 24, 2019, Botonis placed his hand on the child’s clothed thigh as well as what the victim described as his “private area,” authorities said. Then he tried to kiss the child.
When the child rejected the advances and pulled away, Botonis became upset and concerned that the child might tell his parents what had occurred.
Later, Botonis bullied the victim into deleting messages that were associated with Botonis’ name and Facebook account, authorities said.
The victim’s father later discovered other sexually explicit messages sent to his son, who then told his father what had happened, and the parent notified authorities.
Federal agents were able to extract messages from the boy’s cellphone, finding 5,000 messages related to the case.
They said Botonis began grooming the victim in May 2019 by sending increasingly flirtatious and suggestive messages in which he talked about the child’s looks, professed his love for the victim, made sexual innuendos and described sex acts and fetishes.
At one point, the child indicated that he was uncomfortable and did not want to receive any further sexual messages.
Botonis initially was charged in Mayes County District Court, but the case was dismissed in April 2021 because of jurisdictional issues based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma. The victim is a Cherokee Nation citizen.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Botonis in federal court a month later.
Botonis has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.