⚫ As sextortion cases increase, NJ gets a tough new sextortion law
⚫ The FBI says sextortion cases have spiked recently in NJ
⚫ People who engage in sextortion face long prison sentences

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a bill into law that cracks down on sexual extortion, commonly referred to as sextortion.

The new law specifically criminalizes the act of coercing another person to engage in sexual contact or provide explicit images of videos under threat, either of disclosing an explicit sexual image or video of the victim or to the victim’s person, property or reputation.

The FBI has issued repeated warnings in recent months about an uptick in sextortion activity, especially directed at younger boys.

Online trickery

Bad actors, posing as teen girls online, have focused on getting teen boys to provide sexually explicit photos or videos of themselves. The schemers then threaten the boys with sharing those pictures or videos with their family and friends unless they provide monetary payments.


“In this digital age, the protections we have in place to safeguard our residents must expand to address threats that arise online,” Murphy said. “As cases of sexual extortion rise across the country, we will work tirelessly to ensure that New Jersey’s residents are not exploited or victimized.”

Serious penalties for offenders

The new law defines “disclose” as to sell, manufacture, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, transfer, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, advertise, offer, share, or make available via the internet or by any other means, an explicit image or video of a victim.

The legislation, S653 that’s been signed makes sexual extortion a crime of the third degree, which carries a penalty of three to five years in prison, up to a $15,000 fine, or both.

Prison guard with keys walking outside cell

Under the new law aggravated sexual extortion, which includes the act of sexual extortion on a child under 18 or an adult with a developmental disability, is now a second-degree crime, punishable by a term of imprisonment of five to ten years, a fine of up to $150,000, or both.

The legislation was supported by Republicans and Democrats.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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