FBI Probe Targets Musician Who Allegedly Swapped Naked Photos With Underage Female Fans
7/26 UPDATE: Lombardo named in four-count child porn complaint
A singer-songwriter with an ardent and growing YouTube following is the target of a federal child pornography investigation focusing on his alleged exchange of naked photos with underage female fans, according to an FBI affidavit.
In late-December, agents raided the upstate New York home of Michael Lombardo, a 23-year-old musician whom the FBI described as having a “following of female fans ranging from middle-school aged children through college-age students.”
The federal probe was triggered after a Boston University student told agents that Lombardo, pictured at right, had arranged a New Year’s Eve sexual liaison with a 15-year-old girl who was planning to travel from her Indiana home to meet him.
In an FBI interview, the teenager said she “received nude pictures of Lombardo and had, at his direction, sent nude pictures of herself to him.” When agents examined the girl’s cell phone, they observed “multiple nude images of Lombardo” and “multiple explicit text messages” between her and Lombardo. The messages included “plans to meet as well as explicit discussions of specific sexual acts.”
According to the FBI affidavit sworn by Agent Frederick Bragg, two other female minors, both 17, have told agents that they recently exchanged naked photos with Lombardo and engaged in sexually explicit discussions with him via Skype. Additionally, one of the girls “reported that Lombardo masturbated on a web camera and instructed her to masturbate on camera as well.”
During a December 30 raid at Lombardo’s Rome residence, agents seized four computers, his cell phone, a Motorola tablet, and a variety of hard drives and computer storage devices, according to an FBI inventory. In seeking court authorization to search Lombardo’s home, Bragg noted that there was probable cause to believe that he had used the home to possess, produce, or distribute child pornography.
Lombardo, who has not been charged, did not reply to e-mail and phone messages. Mark Juda, who identified himself as Lombardo’s lawyer in a call to TSG, declined to answer questions about the FBI probe.
A Berklee College of Music graduate, Lombardo's YouTube channel is stocked with performance clips and videos shot while on tour. The pianist also maintains a Twitter account, where he notes, “I play songs on the internet. Some people listen to them.”
An active tweeter, Lombardo fell silent for ten days after the FBI showed up at his home just after midnight on December 30. “Hello all. Going off grid for a while… be safe and be well... we will talk soon. <3,” he wrote later that day.