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Located in Santa Ana, California, his name was Luis Mijangos.
Law enforcement authorities investigating the emails soon realized that the threatening communications were part of a larger series of crimes.
And they share material with other teenagers whose cyberdefense practices are even laxer than their own.
Sextortion thus turns out to be quite easy to accomplish in a target-rich environment that often does not require more than malicious guile.
It is a great mistake, however, to confuse sextortion with consensual sexting or other online teenage flirtations. It is also a crime that, as we shall show, does not currently exist in either federal law or the laws of the states.
Mijangos’ actions constitute serial online sexual abuse—something, we shall argue, akin to virtual sexual assault.
We found nearly 80 such cases involving, by conservative estimates, more than 3,000 victims. Prosecutors colloquially call this sort of crime “sextortion.” And while not all cases are as sophisticated as this one, a great many sextortion cases have taken place―in federal courts, in state courts, and internationally―over a relatively short span of time.
Each involves an attacker who effectively invades the homes of sometimes large numbers of remote victims and demands the production of sexual activity from them.
The problem of this new sex crime of the digital age, fueled by ubiquitous Internet connections and webcams, is almost entirely unstudied. Brock Nicholson, head of Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta, Georgia, recently said of online sextoriton, “Predators used to stalk playgrounds.
This is the new playground.” But while the FBI has issued numerous warnings about sextortion, the government publishes no data on the subject.