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Sextortion Lawsuit

Sextortion Is a Hidden Epidemic.

If your child plays online games like Roblox or posts on social media, they are vulnerable to SEXTORTION, short for financially motivated sexual extortion. Sextortion is a cybercrime involving the sexual entrapment of mainly boys 14-17 (or as young as 9) on social media and universal gaming sites that threatens to circulate CSAM (child sex abuse material) of your child obtained through impersonation and trickery.

Since late 2021, sextortion has been the cause of multiple teen deaths by suicide (all boys). The FBI warns that any child, even those with strong emotional safety nets, can fall into the trap.

If you think your child may have been targeted in a sextortion scam, first contact the FBI; and to know your legal options, please contact us now.

“They [predators] lurk in the chat functions of Roblox, Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto… They’re everywhere.”

— Cindy Malott, Director of US Safe Programs at International Crisis Aid.1

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Is Sextortion Virtual Sex Trafficking?

Yes, it is – but it can lead to real life trafficking as well

Online grooming, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and sextortion often serve as a precursor to sex trafficking.

A 13-year-old boy, for instance, believes he’s talking with a pretty girl his age with a similar background and interests. She flirts with him and sends a provocative photo, asking for one in return. Pretty soon, it escalates into sending videos, and then she asks to meet in person.

Playing on Roblox, a 9-year-old goes from roleplaying in a military game to chatting on Discord with promises from his friends of a higher rank, new skins, or Robux to lure him. This is how the grooming process begins – kids don’t understand that people aren’t who they say they are.

From October 2021 through March 2023, the FBI tracked roughly 12,600 sextortion victims, all minors. This crime feeds on the victim’s shame, embarrassment, and isolation. Many of these teens feel like they have nowhere to turn. Between October 2021 and March 2023, at least 20 sextortion victims died by suicide.2

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How to Protect Your Child Before Anything Happens:


Play with them

For online games, play with them. Young kids don’t often realize they are viewing adult content or engaging in adult behaviors.

Teach them

Teach your kids not to give out personal information and to avoid phishing links or malware-laden downloads.

Check in

Parent controls provide a false sense of security. Routinely check in on what games your children are playing. There is no guarantee that everything your child sees during gameplay will be age appropriate.

Be a safe space

Talk to your kids about what to do if they encounter adult content. Make it clear that you are there to help them if anything does happen, and they won’t be punished.

Monitor activity

Use safe gaming tools like Bark and Aura to monitor online activity.

Be proactive

Online usage changes with age, and it may be harder to monitor your teen’s digital life. The earlier you can have conversations about online dangers, the better.

Get real

For apps like Snapchat, talk to your teens about the false sense of security that their pictures will be deleted after they send them.

Watch for behavioral changes

Be on the lookout for behavior changes like moodiness, decreased or increased appetite, and self-isolation. This is one of the best indicators that something is going on, often before kids can verbalize it themselves.
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What To Do If Your Child Is in Trouble:

Contact Law Enforcement Immediately. The FBI instructs contacting law enforcement immediately upon learning of any unwanted, inappropriate contact. Parents can call 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit the FBI website to report incidents. Also, contact your local law enforcement agency to make a report.

Keep Everything. Keep all original documentation, emails, text messages, and logs of communication with the subject. Do not delete anything before law enforcement can review it.

Don’t Hold Back. Tell law enforcement everything about the online encounters. We get it. It may be embarrassing for the parent or child, but providing all relevant information is necessary to find the offender. When reporting online, if you can, be as descriptive as possible:

  • Name and/or Username of the subject.
  • Email addresses and phone numbers used by the subject.
  • Websites used by the subject.
  • Description of all interactions with the subject.

Take it Down. If sexually explicit images have been shared, visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Take it Down tool or Is Your Content Out There? for potential removal.

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Sextortion Cases Are Making National Headlines.

James Woods, a 17-year-old college-bound track star, had just gotten his driver’s license and posed for his senior yearbook photo when an online predator targeted him on Instagram, resulting in his suicide, CBS News reported on January 17, 2024.3 James received 200 messages in less than 20 hours, his mother, Tamia Woods, said. “It ranged anywhere from ‘I own you’ to ‘you need to take your own life.”

“Any child can be a victim of this crime. Even children from loving, stable homes.”

— Abbigail Boccaccio, Unit chief for the FBI Child Exploitation Unit.

South Carolina state House Rep. Brandon Guffey lost his 17-year-old son Gavin, a star high school athlete, to a self-inflicted gunshot wound in July 2022, traced to a sextortion scam Gavin had encountered on social media. Rep. Guffey filed charges on January 30, 2024, accusing social media platforms of causing a range of problems in children, including depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and eating disorders. The lawsuit further alleges that algorithms aggressively target adolescents and do not do enough to keep them safe from harm, according to CNN.4

As a result, South Carolina has passed “Gavin’s Law,” making sexual extortion an aggravated felony punishable by years in prison if the victim is a minor or if the victim suffers physical injury or death directly related to the crime.

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Anyone Can Be Targeted.

You are not alone. A Case for Justice is helping those ensnared by predators and their families hold the profit-making companies that allowed this behavior responsible. We urge you to join powerful civil legal action to help stop this online exploitation.

Even if your predator is involved in a criminal case, you can still file a civil lawsuit for financial recovery. Criminal cases aim to put the perpetrator behind bars; civil cases, on the other hand, go after the entities that harbored perpetrators to stamp out the entire offense.

Since our founding, A Case for Justice has helped thousands of sex assault survivors in cases such as Larry Nassar, Rideshare assaults and Dr. Robert Anderson access powerful, contingency-fee legal services. There is no charge to you for our services. We are an affiliate of A Case for Women, LLC, which also operates the non-profit A Fund for Women.

ACFJ is a safe, confidential place to tell your story and seek justice. The legal representation is done on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay anything to get started. There is zero obligation to talk to us, and everything is confidential. The power is in your hands.

If you’d like us to look into your legal options, the best way to get started is by submitting a response on our official website. If you already have or you have further questions, you can contact us at (866) 488-4786. Or submit the form to learn more about your legal options.

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