Police have begun cracking down on individuals who use Facebook and MySpace to extort or blackmail others for explicit photos and sex. The practice, known as “sextortion”, has led to prison sentences in Georgia and throughout the US.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution has the story.
Those involved in sextortion cases are usually teenagers and young adults. In the typical scenario, the alleged offender will obtain a nude photograph or video of an individual on Facebook, MySpace or a similar social networking site. The offender will then threaten to show the photograph or video to others unless the individual agrees to send additional explicit photographs. In some cases, the alleged offender has even demanded sex.
It is currently unknown how many sextortion cases have been prosecuted throughout the country; however, several high-profile cases have made the headlines. In one Wisconsin case, an 18-year-old tricked his classmates into sending naked pictures of themselves. He then extorted his classmates into having sex. As a result, he received 15 years in prison. In another case, a 24-year-old Alabama man extorted naked pictures from approximately 50 women in three different states after sending threatening messages. He received 18 years in prison.
While sextortion cases are relatively new, it is clear that the number of cases will continue to grow. Our criminal defense lawyers have already successfully handled a few sextortion cases. We understand that in many instances such communications are consensual and that the alleged victim may also exaggerate or make false claims. If retained early enough, a good criminal defense attorney can sit down with prosecutors and law enforcement to show his client’s innocence. These early efforts will often result in reduced or dismissed charges.