Atwater man admitted paying children for naked photos. He’s going to prison now

Atwater resident Nikko Adolfo Perez on Monday was sentenced by a federal judge to 40 years in prison for paying boys in Utah to send him nude photos and engaging in sex with other minors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“While Perez’s sentence is substantial, it pales in comparison to the lifetime of damage he inflicted upon his many victims.,” said Sean Ragan, special agent in charge at the FBI Sacramento Field Office.

Nikko Adolfo Perez, 26, of Atwater.JPG
Nikko Adolfo Perez, 26, of Atwater U.S. Department of Justice

Perez, using the Instagram screen name of “captainamerica272018,” coerced an 8-year-old boy and 10-year-old boy to create and send him images of them engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to a news release.

Perez reportedly offered to pay the children with Google Play credits. When one of the victims said he would call 9-1-1, Perez threatened to release sexually explicit images of the victims.

Perez also reportedly threatened the boys’ family members.

Perez pleaded guilty on Feb. 25 and admitted to also using Skype, Kik, Discord, Snapchat and LifeMe to communicate with up to 100 minors to solicit sexually explicit photos of them. In addition to admitting to paying victims to pose nude or engage in sexual acts, he also admitted to sending some of the images to other people.

“Innocence cannot be restored,” Ragan states in the release. “We hope this case inspires families to have conversations about the danger of communicating online over text, apps, and other media with a stranger and the importance of immediately seeking help if communication becomes (exploitative) or threatening.”

Additional victims are still being sought by the FBI. Information on any of Perez’s victims can be submitted to

Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.