Lethbridge man charged with extortion, luring for the purposes of child pornography

Lethbridge Police have charged an 18-year-old man with extorting nude photographs from a teenage girl via social media.

On January 7, 2016 a 14-year-old girl reported to police that in the summer of 2015 she was befriended on social media by an unknown person and pressured into sharing nude photos of herself.

The victim complied and was allegedly extorted into sending additional photos. The victim was threatened that if she did not continue to send nude photos the others would be made public and also sent to her family members.

An investigation by Lethbridge Police, with assistance from the ALERT’s Integrated Child Exploitation unit, identified a subject. Police determined the accused is known to the victim and had been communicating with her using false identities on various social media channels. Police do not believe there are additional victims.

“This case exemplifies the risks associated with online photo sharing. Once you hit send, you lose complete control over how that image is going to be used – or come back to haunt you,” said Cst. Jason Richmond, an investigator with the ALERT Integrated Child Exploitation Unit.

The accused was arrested on May 18 without incident. The 18-year-old is charged with extortion, making child pornography, accessing child pornography, possession child pornography, making sexually explicit material available to a child and luring for the purposes of child pornography. He made his first court appearance this week and is scheduled to return to court on June 16.

As the accused and victim are associated, the name of the accused is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim.

**Cst. Jason Richmond will be available for media interviews today at the police station at 10:30 a.m. This will be the only opportunity for on-camera interviews**