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How “Sextortion” Is Penalized in New Jersey

sextortion crime

In today’s digital age, where photos and videos travel at the speed of a click, the act of “sextortion” has emerged as a new type of crime. It involves using explicit images or videos as leverage to coerce victims into sexual activity or production of further such material. 

While traditional extortion demands money or property under threat of harm, sextortion seeks a different kind of payment: sexual acts or the creation of explicit images and videos. This manipulation preys on the victim’s fear of public humiliation and can have economic or psychological consequences.

New Jersey law defines two specific types of sextortion:

  • Sexual extortion — This crime encompasses threatening to release compromising photos or videos (of the victim or someone else) in order to coerce the victim into sexual activity or the production of further explicit content. The threat itself is sufficient for a conviction, even if the victim ultimately doesn’t comply. Additionally, threats made against a third party are also considered crimes under this statute. Penalties for sexual extortion are significant, carrying a potential sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Aggravated sexual extortion — This elevated charge applies when the victim is a minor under 18 or an adult with a developmental disability. In New Jersey, a developmental disability is defined as a severe, chronic condition arising from a mental and/or physical impairment. Aggravated sexual extortion is a second-degree crime, punishable by five to 10 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $150,000.

Sextortion tactics often utilize the internet, making them challenging to track and prevent. Common scenarios include online predators posing as romantic interests, compromising victims through hacked accounts or using explicit content obtained through non-consensual means. In addition, acts constituting sextortion can violate other state and federal laws related to online harassment and illegal activity.

If you are under investigation for sextortion, an attorney experienced in defense against cybercrime charges can investigate the charges and underlying facts, challenge the state’s evidence and take other measures to protect your rights.

At the Law Office of David Jay Glassman, we handle defense of cybercrime cases throughout New Jersey. To schedule a free consultation in Hackensack, Marlton, Newark or New Brunswick, contact us online or call us at 866-221-1270.