A Halifax teen has been charged with extortion after someone using fictitious Facebook accounts demanded a 16-year-old girl send him naked pictures of herself.
The 17-year-old male threatened to post private pictures of the girl he had in his possession if she refused. When she did refuse, he followed through by sending photos to others on Facebook, Const. Pierre Bourdages of Halifax Regional Police said Friday.
After the girl contacted police in November 2012, investigators discovered a series of Facebook accounts were being used to contact her. Some requests for search warrants went through the U.S., where Facebook is based.
"We were able to discover that the suspect in this case was known to the victim and was here in Halifax. He was arrested yesterday," Bourdages said.
Officers searched a Halifax home and seized computer equipment. The accused teen can't be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
He is charged with extortion, possession of child pornography, distributing child pornography and mischief.
Police said the suspect is known to the victim.
"Unfortunately it's not unusual. We have charged three other youths this year with distributing child pornography," Bourdages said. "We hope that people will realize that it is a very dangerous game to play."
The teenager has been released from custody and is due to appear in Halifax youth court on Dec. 5. He is forbidden from accessing the internet as a condition of his release.
The case will have reverberations in Nova Scotia, which is all too familiar with cyberbullying.
The family of Cole Harbour teen Rehtaeh Parsons says she was mocked mercilessly after a photo of her allegedly being sexually assaulted was distributed among her peers.
The 17-year-old took her own life this spring.
Police initially did not lay any charges in the case. But in August they charged two teenagers with distributing child pornography. They are due back in youth court on Dec. 5.
The extortion allegations revealed Friday are also similar to the case of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old in B.C., who had been the target of a sexual extortionist for nearly two years after she flashed a crowd by webcam while on a live streaming chat site.
Someone captured a freeze frame of the teen topless and then used that photo to repeatedly try to blackmail her for more webcam "shows."
Todd committed suicide on Oct. 10, 2012.
CBC’s the fifth estate has learned RCMP in British Columbia were alerted at least five times over the course of nearly two years about the sexual extortion.
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