Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Cyberstalking and “Sextorting” Massachusetts College Student
BOSTON – A Pennsylvania man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Boston for engaging in a “sextortion” campaign against a Boston-area college student.
James F. Connor V, 20, of West Chester, Penn., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to time served, three years of supervised release, the first 10 months to be served in home confinement, a $5,000 fine and 500 hours of community served. In January 2016, Connor pleaded guilty to one count of cyberstalking and one count of extortion.
In 2012, Connor and the victim met through social media and developed an online relationship. In the course of that relationship, the victim sent Connor naked pictures of herself through Snapchat and engaged in sexually explicit video chats with him using FaceTime. Connor preserved many of these images without her consent. After the relationship ended, Connor attempted to continue communications with the victim and initiated a campaign of harassment and intimidation. He threatened to harm her physically and harm her reputation by publicly disseminating the sexually explicit images. Connor also repeatedly threatened to commit suicide if the victim did not take his calls, and sent her pictures of himself holding a knife to his throat with blood, which was later determined to be fake, dripping down his neck.
In September 2015, Connor escalated his campaign of harassment when he began blackmailing the victim and threatening to send the sexually explicit images to her parents and Twitter followers if she did not send additional naked pictures and engage in sexually explicit video chats with him. As part of Connor’s cyberstalking and sextortion campaign, he sent the victim a detailed list of sexual demands, which included, among other things, that she send him five sexually explicit pictures and have five sexually explicit video chat sessions per week over a five week period. Connor also insisted that she break up with her current boyfriend.
Connor frequently employed a telephone and text message spoofing, or anonymizing, application that allows users to easily change telephone numbers to conceal their identity. In October 2015, Connor was arrested and charged via criminal complaint after the victim reported the threats and prior pattern of harassment to law enforcement authorities.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordi de Llano of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.