Bengaluru parent says teen son tricked into sending nude photos of him, parents to extortionist on Facebook

Twisted tale of child sexual abuse sextortion from Bengaluru Teen trapped online
news Child Abuse Friday, May 26, 2017 - 20:25

Like most teenagers, 13-year-old Sandeep* from Bengaluru’s Herohalli, would spend hours on Facebook every day.

But this browsing, according to an FIR filed with the Cyber Crime of CID in Bengaluru, lead to a twisted tale of child sexual exploitation and ‘sextortion’ in the city.

In June 2016, Sandeep became friends with a person named Tejal Patel. Sandeep and Tejal Patel talked every day for months.

Towards the end of April, Tejal Patel began sending pornographic images of a certain girl to Sandeep. It is unclear whether Tejal Patel is a man or woman and from where the account was being operated.  He had also received Sandeep’s nude photographs a few months into the chatting.

According to an investigating officer with the Cyber Crime Police, sometime in May, Tejal Patel stopped sending the pornographic images, which Sandeep was hooked to by then.

“Sandeep kept asking Tejal Patel for more pictures. This was when the first demand came. Tejal Patel refused to send them any more pictures unless he procured pictures of Sandeep’s parents having sexual intercourse. The boy, who did not realise what this might entail, procured the photos and sent it to Tejal Patel,” a Bengaluru Cyber Crime officer told TNM.

Thus, began the saga of child pornography and sextortion, if one goes by the FIR lodged with the Cyber Crime police.

Soon after Sandeep sent Tejal Patel the pictures of his parents, the miscreant demanded that Sandeep pay up Rs 1 crore or face the unbearable humiliation of his parents’ and his explicit photos appearing on all social media platforms.

It was after this incident that Sandeep realised that he was being played by Tejal. Panicked and scared of the turn of events, Sandeep told his parents the series of events which had occurred since he became friends with the stranger on Facebook.

The boy’s parents immediately approached the Bengaluru Cyber Crime Police and an FIR was registered against Tejal Patel under section 67(B) of the Information Technology Act 2000 (punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act), sections 14 (punishment for using child for pornographic purposes) and 15 (punishment for storage of pornographic material involving child) of the POCSO Act, and sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 507 (criminal intimidation by anonymous communication), 384 (punishment for extortion) and 385 (putting a person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion) of the Indian Penal Code.

Child pornography production

It is not just sexual grooming or sexual abuse that predators on the internet indulge in, child pornography production too is a facet of Internet-related sex crimes. The National Juvenile Online Victimization (NJOV) Survey by University of New Hampshire in 2005 found that one in five online child molesters took sexually suggestive or explicit photographs of victims or convinced victims to take such photographs of themselves or friends.

Another study found that 4% of youth Internet users were asked to take sexual pictures of themselves and send them to online solicitors.

Sextortion

The Bengaluru case may also be a case of sextortion. Sextortion is a method employed by predators on the internet where the victim is coerced to pay money or explicit pictures and videos will be published.

Thorn, an organization that fights child sexual exploitation with tech says ‘Sextortion’ is an emerging type of crime.  It says, “Sextortion is a wide-ranging problem and not isolated to one website or app. Perpetrators used many forms of technology to reach victims and 45% of victims reported contact with perpetrators on more than one platform.”

*Name changed.

 

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