Jail for US Facebook blackmailer
Thursday 04 March 2010 | By Heidi Scott, Gosh! Media Copywriter
In a case that has gripped the American media, a teenage boy in Wisconsin has been handed a 15-year jail sentence after posing as a girl on the social networking site Facebook in order to blackmail male students into sex.
Anthony Stancl, 19, stood accused of tricking more than 30 classmates into sending him photos of themselves naked and then using the images in a blackmail campaign by threatening to post them on line unless the boys performed sex acts with him.
Posing as 'Kayla', Stancl succeeded in forcing at least seven of them into some sort of sexual activity and then used his mobile 'phone to record the encounters in order to feed more blackmail threats.
According to the Daily Mail Online, up to 300 photos of underage males - some as young as 15 - were found by police on Stancl's computer.
The investigation had begun after a 16-year-old told the authorities he was being blackmailed by Stancl. The boy, then 15, had sent explicit pictures of himself to 'Kayla', who then threatened to spread the images throughout the school unless he agreed to sexual activity with her 'male friend'. The boy agreed to at least four sex acts but, when asked for a nude photo of his brother, confided in his parents.
Police identified 31 victims, each of whom had exchanged nude photographs or videos with someone they thought was female. More than half of these had received threats that the images would be released unless they agreed to sex acts.
Stancl had accepted a plea deal in which charges under a separate investigation relating to a bomb threat at his high school in 2008, perpetrated by Stancl, were dropped.
The teenager, who had faced up to 30 years in prison, apparently showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down.
In following the case, CNET News reported that the Connecticut Attorney General recently issued a subpoena, following which the social networking site MySpace handed over the names of 90,000 registered sex offenders that had profiles on the site, and that pressure was mounting for Facebook to do something similar.