NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) and Senator Fred Madden (D-4) that would establish the crime of sexual extortion to fight a growing trend that often victimizes minors was approved by the New Jersey Senate.
“With the passage of this legislation, we are one step closer to identifying, convicting, and punishing perpetrators who engage in this despicable behavior,” Oroho said. “The legislature must continue to do everything within our power to protect our children from this heinous abuse.”
Sexual extortion occurs when a victim is threatened or coerced into engaging in a sexual activity or providing explicit material to the offender. According to the FBI, sextortion can begin on any online site, app, or game. In some cases, the interaction begins with a threat to reveal an image or video unless the victim provides more pictures.
Under current New Jersey law, there is no specific crime for sexual extortion.
Senator Oroho’s bipartisan legislation, S-653, criminalizes sexual extortion to the third degree with a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a $15,000 penalty.
If the victim is under the age of 18, or is an adult with a developmental disability, the charges are increased to aggravated sexual extortion in the second-degree. This crime carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison with a $150,000 fine.
“This bill puts some real teeth in the law. Young victims are often reluctant to report their abusers due to fear of embarrassment or retaliation,” Oroho said. “With the help of my colleagues in the Legislature, and the Governor’s signature, we can make the perpetrators of this horrendous act pay a steep price for the emotional and psychological damage they cause to innocent minors.”