A 19 year old Utah missionary was sent home early and arrested for sexual extortion of a child.
Social media threats
19 year old Gabe Ryan Gilbert of South Jordan, Utah was arrested for multiple counts of sexual extortion of a child after a dark side to his social media history came to light. A 15 year old female alerted authorities after Gilbert, who was using a pseudo name, threatened to photoshop her face on nude photos of other people if she did not send him actual naked pictures of herself. A task force with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) researched these allegations of sexual extortion of a child and found evidence of several potential victims of Gilbert. When police attempted to contact Gilbert regarding these crimes, they discovered he had left a couple months after the conversation with the 15 year old to serve a mission for his church. Gilbert was sent home early from his church mission and arrested for sexual extortion of a child.
Sexual extortion of a child
Utah Code 76-5b-204 states “ An individual who is 18 years old or older commits the offense of sexual extortion if the individual:
- with an intent to coerce a victim to engage in sexual contact, in sexually explicit conduct, or in simulated sexually explicit conduct, or to produce, provide, or distribute an image, video, or other recording of any individual naked or engaged in sexually explicit conduct, communicates in person or by electronic means a threat:
– To the victim’s person, property, or reputation; or
– To distribute an intimate image or video of the victim; or
- knowingly causes a victim to engage in sexual contact, in sexually explicit conduct, or in simulated sexually explicit conduct, or to produce, provide, or distribute any image, video, or other recording of any individual naked or engaged in sexually explicit conduct by means of a threat:
– to the victim’s person, property, or reputation; or
– to distribute an intimate image or video of the victim.”
Sexual extortion is a third degree felony unless aggravating factors such as physical or emotional harm, the use of a weapon, or other factors listed in section 76-5b-204 occur; in that case, it would be a second degree felony. Sexual extortion of “any individual under the age of 18” is considered aggravated sexual extortion of a child and is a first degree felony.
“Anonymous” internet crimes
Many teens and young adults are under the impression that crimes that occur behind a keyboard and screen don’t “count” as much as similar crimes committed in person. Many also have a false sense of security thinking that they can successfully hide their identity online through fake names and anonymous posting. Apps such as Snapchat, Kik and Whisper all have methods for anonymity or disappearing messaging, leaving users assuming anything they say or do online is not being tracked.Teens should be warned that online crimes are punishable to the full extent of the law and anything they say or do in cyberspace can come back to haunt them. Any teens facing charges for online crimes such as sexual extortion of a child should consult immediately with a juvenile defense attorney.