NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A man who allegedly threatened two 13 year-old boys in order to get them to send nude pictures of themselves, pleaded not guilty in a Northampton courtroom Friday afternoon. An attorney for 29 year-old Zack Sawyer (a.k.a. Joshua Nield) of Georgetown, Illinois entered the plea on his behalf to charges of extortion and posing a child in the nude.
Sawyer was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail/$5 million surety during his arraignment in Hampshire Superior Court Friday afternoon.
According to Mary Carey, spokesperson for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Sawyer met the two victims, who are Belchertown residents, back in 2010 through an Xbox Live chatroom.
“After identifying himself by his full name, Sawyer is alleged to have said he was 24 years old and lived in Illinois. He learned the ages of the boys in this conversation and later claimed to know identifying information about them that they had not shared. He is alleged to have made sexually explicit threats to the boys,” a statement from the DA’s office says.
Sawyer, who works as a cross-country truck driver, has pending charges against him in Virginia. He was arrested on December 23 by U.S. Marshals and local police at the home of a relative in Illinois.
The U.S. Marshals Service says that Sawyer had been taunting law enforcement, and had refused to surrender to agents from the Department of Homeland Security.
Sawyer is due back in court on March 12.