The U.S. Department of Justice claims that Richard Leon Finkbiner of Brazil, Indiana put two juvenile boys in a horrific predicament; they were told that they would have to pose for sexual photos for the man or he would share racy photos of them on gay websites that were already in his possession.
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett claims that Finkbiner has "thousands of sexually explicit images and videos depicting hundreds of individuals" including "up to 100 ... underage victims."
It is unclear how the suspect supposedly obtained provocative photos of the two boys but he met them by using online video chat websites between November 2011 and February 2012.
If this man is convicted then this could be the largest case of online sexual extortion of children in the country's history.
According to one Queensland police report blackmailing children is becoming a more common tactic used by sexual predators, "There has been an increase in online offenders using threats such as hacking online profiles and email accounts and using blackmail techniques as a response to an increasingly empowered internet generation who are recognizing and reporting online grooming behavior to police agencies."
Sextortionists like Finkbiner will typically threaten to reveal some sensitive information about their victims unless they send them sexually explicit content or agree to meet them in person.
In one example, a 15-year-old Sydney girl was blackmailed into posting images of herself to a 16-year-old boy overseas after he threatened to contact her friends on the web and create defaming stories about her sister.
Out of fear she waited weeks before contacting the police.
There are many campaigns and programs that are designed to inform youth of these dangers and parents can protect their children by monitoring their online activities.