Pennsylvania Man Charged with “Sextorting” Massachusetts College Student
BOSTON – A Pennsylvania man who threatened to publicly disseminate sexually explicit images of a Boston-area college student unless she provided him with additional images was arrested yesterday and charged with extortion.
James F. Connor V, 19, of West Chester, Pa., was charged with one count of extortion. He was ordered detained during an initial appearance yesterday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
According to the criminal complaint, Connor engaged in a version of blackmail, called “sextortion,” which involves threats to publicly release revealing images of a person in order to extort sexual favors. Connor and the victim, a student at a Boston-area university, met through social media and developed a relationship in 2012. In the course of that relationship, the victim sent Connor naked pictures through Snapchat, a video messaging app, and engaged in sexually explicit video chats with Connor using FaceTime. Connor allegedly preserved these images without her consent. After the relationship ended, Connor began blackmailing the victim by threatening to release the sexually explicit images to her parents and Twitter followers if she did not continue sending naked pictures and engaging in sexually explicit video chats with him. Connor also insisted that she break up with her current boyfriend.
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than two years in prison, one year supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordi de Llano of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.