Sgt. Dana Pierce said 17-year-old Michael William Cook is accused of using his computer to contact girls under the age of 18. He allegedly contacted them under the business name Maxi Focus Photography sometime between Nov. 1, 2012, and Jan. 1.
“I think he knew he had to have a legitimate business name so he could befriend the victims,” Pierce said.
Cook would gain enough trust from the young women to eventually get social media or website sign-in names.
Using that information, he would then use a computer program to access passwords for these sites and hack into an individual’s personal web page.
Once on a victim’s Web page, Cook would save any images found on their pages to his personal computer and then upload those images to a pornographic website, police said.
Cook did not take any of the photos himself. He is accused of stealing the photos off of the girls’ own websites or social media sites.
Police have so far identified eight victims, the youngest of whom was 14 years old, but they anticipate there being more.
“We have no clue how many victims we could be looking at,” Pierce said. “Even though we do have images from his computer, we can’t identify all the victims.”
Pierce said he does not know the details of the photos, whether they show the victims’ faces or not, nor how police learned about the incidents.
He also said that Harrison High School is not a part of the investigation and that they have found victims in the Cherokee County area as well.
“Since it’s beginning to broaden, we don’t want to narrow anybody’s focus,” he said.
Pierce said Cook is the only suspect believed to be involved in the case.
Cook was arrested Wednesday at Harrison High School in Kennesaw on seven counts of first-degree cruelty to children and one count of distribution of child pornography.
The Acworth teen is being held without bond in the Cobb County Jail.
Anyone who may have corresponded with Maxi Focus Photography is asked to contact the Cobb County Police Department’s Crimes Against Children’s Unit at 770-801-3470.