SPRAUGE, Conn. (WTNH) — A man from Sprague was charged by federal criminal complaint with child exploitation offenses and making threatening communications, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.

Gregory Butts, 51, appeared in court on Friday in Hartford following his detainment since March 2022 after he was arrested for violating his state probation.

According to the complaint, family and friends of two missing juveniles in Colorado posted a phone number on social media to seek the public’s help in November 2020. Butts allegedly used his phone with the number blocked to call the number on social media and spoke to a female friend of the missing juveniles. He stated he was with the missing juveniles and had sexual contact with them, the complaint said.

During the call, Butts allegedly threatened to harm the missing juveniles if the conversation was recorded or if law enforcement were contacted. The complaint said the missing juveniles returned home and were not harmed nor kidnapped.

The complaint alleges investigators determined that the call, which was recorded by the female friend, came from a lightly-populated area in Sprague. Butts, a registered sex offender living in the area, was on probation following a state conviction for illegal sexual contact with a minor.

After identifying Butts’ voice on the recording, probation officers searched his home and found a computer, storage devices, and multiple cell phones which revealed thousands of images and videos of child pornography. Additionally, the complaint alleges Butts had several downloaded conversations with minors on Snapchat where he engaged in sexually explicit conversations, made threats, and demanded sexually explicit photos.

Butts was charged with possession of child pornography, attempted coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, and making an interstate threat to injure.

The incident is being investigated by the FBI in New Haven, as well as Loveland, Colorado, with additional assistance from Connecticut State Police, the Connecticut Office of Adult Probation, and the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory.