A sicko who admitted to sexually exploiting children somehow managed to persuade the kids' own mothers to carry out his twisted fantasies, authorities in Detroit said Monday.
Prosecutors said one-time car salesman Steven Demink targeted vulnerable single moms through online dating websites, then through Web chats and emails, claiming he was a psychologist and promising his sex therapy would help their troubled children.
His therapeutic suggestions allegedly included having the women be nude with their children as well as perform sexual acts with them.
In one case, Demink -- who used the alias Dalton St. Clair -- started online chats with an Oregon woman about the sexual development of her 8-year-old autistic son, The Associated Press reported.
The 41-year-old told the unidentified woman to engage in sexually explicit conduct with her son as a way to teach him about sex, according to the plea agreement. She did as instructed while he watched on a Web camera.
In other cases, the mothers would send Demink photos showing them abusing their children, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Several of those mothers since have been arrested, and all of the children -- who ranged in age from 3 to 15 -- were taken into protective custody. Demink is accused of having communicated with women in several states, including New Hampshire, Florida, Illinois, Florida, Oregon and Georgia.
Demink's alleged scam went on for nearly a year, until a mother of one of the women in Idaho reported their conversations to authorities in December 2009.
"I don't know how he wrangled her in," Eileen Schwab said, according to The AP. "She could have turned off the computer and gone the other way. He must have had a power over her."
Her daughter pleaded guilty last May to lewd conduct with a child under 16 and is currently in prison.
Demink told prosecutors he convinced the women that he was a single parent, just like them, and had one 14-year-old girl, court documents said. He met the females through websites such as singleparentmeet.com and used head shots of male models in place of his actual picture.
In truth, Demink worked as a car salesman for several months before spending five years working at a bank, prosecutors said. He later worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service and spent only two years in college.
Demink pleaded guilty Monday to six charges related to the sexual exploitation of children. He faces 15 years to life in jail. Seven other charges were dropped as part of his plea deal.