The State of Florida accused UNF student, Jesse Martinez, of 15 counts of “sextortion” after he allegedly attempted to compel a man he met on Grindr to perform oral sex on him lest he expose sexually explicit photos of him. An undercover investigation led to his arrest after he had used different names on the site in a chatroom. Martinez was terminated from a volunteer photographer position at a UNF student-run newspaper and later investigation revealed that he was on probation in Alachua County where he threatened students there as well. He was arrested in 2017 for the same crime.
Cybercrimes and Extortion
Generally speaking, cybercrimes involve any normal crime in which there is the use of a computer. Nonetheless, Florida has an entire statute devoted specifically to cybercrimes.
In this case, Martinez is accused of extorting fellow students and others via online dating apps and attempting to coerce them into performing sex acts on him under the threat of releasing their nude photos.
Sextortion cases are not as rare as you might imagine and internet dating sites are a hotbed of such behavior. In many instances, they involve money. Underhanded lurkers on so-called “hook-up” sites will attempt to elicit nude photos from horny males. The males will send their photos and then be threatened with exposure if they do not send the person a certain amount of money.
Women too are targeted in these kinds of schemes, though often for different reasons. Angry boyfriends or other frustrated suitors may attempt to leverage women with explicit photos simply for the sake of humiliating, harassing, or otherwise sexually abusing them.
Understanding Florida’s Approach to Cybercrimes and Extortion
Crimes that violate the basic necessity of consent in sexual relationships like the one mentioned above are always cause for concern. Florida treats them accordingly and punishes them harshly. In many cases, these carry with them felony charges and the threat of real jail time and beyond that, the threat to a person’s reputation in the community may be forever tarnished. When they are truly guilty of these crimes, who can spare them a shred of sympathy? They’re getting precisely the punishment that they attempted to undeservingly use on someone else.
Nonetheless, there needs to be an investigation. Proper procedures for discovery need to be followed and a full investigation must be conducted. The internet is a frightening place precisely because it is so anonymous. People hiding behind their keyboards to all sorts of unsavory things that they would not do in the light of day.
The penalties for such crimes are harsh, but the standard of proof is very high. Simply tracing electronic communications through an IP address may not be enough and the police are obligated to conduct a thorough investigation.
Contact an Experience West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime of this nature, it is important to understand that the stakes are very high, both for you and the state. The state has an incentive to punish this conduct harshly and protect its citizens. You will need someone to advocate on your behalf.
The Skier Law Firm, P.A. has successfully managed a number of criminal defense cases involving cybercrimes. If you’ve been charged, you will need an experienced attorney to mitigate the charges levied against you. Contact Scott Skier either by phone or online and we can talk about approaches to defending against these allegations.