With text messaging, dating apps, social media accounts, and email, it’s easier than ever to communicate electronically with other people. Through these types of media, individuals can send private messages back and forth to one another, with some exchanges including requests for suggestive photos or videos. If one person threatens to release the images unless they comply with certain demands, they can be charged with “sextortion.”
Laws Against Sextortion
In Florida, sextortion is governed by Statute 836.05, which prohibits an individual from maliciously threatening to:
- Accuse someone of a crime
- Injure another individual
- Expose someone else to disgrace
- Expose the secrets of another person
- Allege that another person has a deformity or lacks chastity
In doing so, the individual must have intended to force the other person to give them money or other items of value, or to make the person do or refrain from doing something against their will.
Cases of Sextortion in Florida
Sextortion cases are on the rise, as more and more people have access to the internet and various devices that allow them to quickly and conveniently share pictures and videos with one another. In February of 2019, a student in Tampa was arrested for hacking into a woman’s social media account, obtaining explicit images, and threatening to share them with her family unless she messaged him. In a separate incident in April of 2019, a Florida woman gained access to a man’s phone and shared photos of his genitals on his social media accounts. She was charged with sextortion for maliciously exposing him to disgrace.
Penalties for Sextortion
Sextortion is charged as a second-degree felony. If convicted, a person could face a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
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