May 11, 2016
Sextortion Kills Teens
By Mike McManus
Amanda Todd, 13, agreed to show her breasts during a video chat on the
web. The recipient then sent her a Facebook message demanding more or
else. When she refused to cooperate, her tormentor shipped a photo of
her breasts to all of her Facebook friends.
She was ridiculed and so embarrassed that she changed schools. She
became anxious and depressed. In 2012 she posted a video about her
predicament, saying "I have nobody. I need someone." A month later she
Six months ago, Dutch police arrested Aydin Coban, 35, and accused him
of extorting Amanda and dozens of other girls, as well as adult men in
Canada, the U.S. and Netherlands.
The Washington Post reported Amanda's story this week along with the
news that two students at George Mason University were the latest
victims of "sextortion," in which people send sexually explicit videos
of themselves and are then extorted for money by the recipient in
exchange for not distributing them to others.
After broadcasting sex acts on their webcam, "The suspects then recorded
the footage of the victims and threatened to circulate the videos on the
Internet unless the victims paid $5,000," said a police officer.
The Justice Department released a new "National Strategy for Child
Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction" in which it charged, "The
threat of extortion directed toward children is not just restricted to
the immediate sexual and emotional abuse imposed by the offender on
their victims. Sextortion victims engage in cutting, have depression,
drop out of school or grades decline, as well as engage in other forms
of self-harm at an alarming rate."
The internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which helps state and
local law enforcement agencies, reports the number of complaints
nationwide has grown from 5,300 in 2010 to 7,000 in 2013.
The predators, such as Tremain Hutchinson, pose as 15-year-olds, though
they are in their 30s. After he was caught, Hutchinson admitted to
raping four girls, the youngest of whom was only 11. He asked a
15-year-old girl to perform oral sex on her 13-year-old brother.
She panicked and told her brother who staged a photo pretending to do
what he ordered. Her father said, "She felt that if she sent the
picture, he would leave her alone. She was genuinely afraid and thought
she could handle it, and it got out of control."
Hutchinson was angry that the photo was not graphic enough. The picture
was sent to her aunt, who went to the girl's mother. Hutchinson was
charged with extorting 16 child victims, including the four rape
victims. "The guy was a terrorist," said one cop.
The girl talked about suicide, began cutting herself and went into
therapy. Her grades plummeted and relations with her family fractured.
She's now living with relatives in another state.
What should be done about Sextortion? I have three suggestions.
Most important, parents of teenagers need to block their cell phones and
computers from being able to see or transmit nude photos or videos. The
American Family Association has created American Family Online Mobile
Filtering, which can be contacted via AFO.net or by calling 850
362-6180. For $19.95 a year, that i-Phone will be blocked.
Wives must take the same step to protect their husbands from porn's
temptation. Divorce attorneys say 60% to 68% of divorces involve the
addiction by one spouse to hard core obscenity.
Second, we need a vastly strengthened law enforcement. Joseph Simone was
a wrestling coach at a prestigious prep school in Providence, RI. He was
charged with sextorting 22 young boys, pretending to be a young girl
when soliciting initial nude images. He then threatened to release those
images on Facebook if the boys didn't perform more sex acts.
However, Simone was sentenced to only one year in prison and two more in
By contrast, Joshua Blankenship ran a social media manipulation scheme
against a single minor female in Maryland, convincing her that she had
broken the law herself by sending out a nude photo. He demanded more
images, in exchange for not telling the police. He was sentenced to 12
years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges.
Brookings Institution calls for a federal sextortion law to eliminate
vastly disparate sentencing.
Finally, America must elect a President who will begin enforcing federal
obscenity laws. "The Obama Administration has refused to initiate any
cases at all," says Patrick Trueman, former director of obscenity
enforcement under Reagan and Bush, now President of the National Council
on Sexual Exploitation.
Amidst dark evil there are rays of hope.
The Sextortion of Amanda Todd - the fifth estate CBC News
Stalking Amanda Todd : The Man in the Shadows - the fifth estate CBC
Copyright (c) 2016 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and
a syndicated columnist. Go to
www.ethicsandreligion.com to see past columns. Hit Search for any
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