A 25-year-old Australian has been charged with nudity extortion, or sextortion, of 112 girls from multiple countries, Australian authorities report. The man is alleged to have presented himself as a social media celebrity online to engage in conversation with girls. He then blackmailed the victims to perform sexual acts on camera.
An Australian police unit dedicated to combating child abuse launched an investigation into the suspect after tips from Interpol and from the United States. A 13-year-old American girl had told police that she thought the person she spoke to online was 15 years old, and that he was asking questions of a sexual nature.
The girl said he sent her screenshots of their conversation, which had been modified to make it look like she went along with his sexual fantasies. The suspect allegedly threatened to send the screenshots to her family and friends if she didn’t do what he said. Then he forced the girl to undress and engage in sexual acts while he and others watched online. Australian authorities believe the suspect used the same method to blackmail other girls from multiple countries.
Police investigations revealed that a man from Parkwood, a suburb of Perth, West Australia, is behind the perpetrator’s social media accounts. Police searched his home and seized multiple electronic devices, a telephone, hard drives and USB sticks. More than 2,000 sexually explicit images of girls were soon found.
It was not clear from the announcement of the Australian federal police whether among the victims also girls from the Netherlands. A detective says the 13-year-old girl from the United States has been very brave in sharing her story and seeking help. “We encourage parents and caregivers to regularly discuss their online activities with their children so that they feel comfortable asking for help when needed,” said the investigator.
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