Sex & Blackmail

As reported by Charles Wilson in the August 15, 2010 edition of the Providence Journal, the law is continuing to develop in light of new technology. A new crime called "sextortion" has emerged, an off-shot of the crime of sexting. "Sexting" is sending sexually explicit photographs or videos by minors through electronic means. "Sextortion" is blackmailing people into sending sexually explicit photographs and/or videos. This is a growing crime and has been reported in a dozen states.

Common examples of sextortion include sending threatening e-mails or messages through Internet social websites such as MySpace or Facebook. The consequences of sextortion can be severe. In Wisconsin, a man posed as a girl on Facebook and was able to get male teenagers to send him nude photographs. The man then used the photographs to extort the teens for sex. He was sentenced to fifteen (15) years in jail.

Sometimes, the extornists use photographs/videos already in existence for their extortion. A group of three teenage girls in Indiana flashed their breasts in an Internet chat room through a webcam. A man in Maryland then sent one of the girls e-mails threatening to post the images to her MySpace friends unless she gave him sexually explicit photographs and videos of herself. She gave into his demands. The man was eventually apprehended and was charged with sexual exploitation.

The ability to reach countless people on the Internet and the multiple connections that people have to the Internet, allow extornists to access hundreds of people. A man in California is alleged to have hacked into more than 200 computers. He threatened to expose nude photos of the people, unless they created sexually explicit videos for him. In addition, the man, through the use of technology, was able to remotely activate webcams of some of the people he was targeting. He was then able to record them undressing and having sex. Another man from Alabama was able to extort nude photographs from more than 50 different women, in three different states. He was sentenced to eighteen years in prison.

If you or a family member has been charged with sexting, "sextortion" or other sex crimes please contact Robert H. Humphrey at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at

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