Sextortion in High School

GQ has a rather weird piece about something that may or may not be a trend:  High school kids using the Internet to extort sexual favors.  This one has a twist, which I’ll lot Conor Friedersdorf summarize:

Tony Stancl, an 18 year old high school senior who created a fake female identity on Facebook, flirted with male classmates by Internet chat, and successfully encouraged hundreds of them to send along naked photographs. These he kept on his computer. The unluckiest victims were subsequently blackmailed. The made up female would threaten to release the photographs unless the boys performed oral or anal sex on “my friend Tony.” Some boys agreed, and allowed that to be photographed too.

Conor has an excellent disquisition on the culture that allows high schoolers to casually get photographed nude and send said pics to complete strangers.  It’s worth reading.

My thoughts upon reading his precis, however, were not so much to the issue of the photographs per se but the fact that some significant number of high school boys allowed themselves to be blackmailed into gay sex rather than have nude photographs of themselves revealed.    Let’s just say my reaction precisely mirrored that which President Obama would have upon being told additional troops were needed in Afghanistan.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    Unless being a high school boy has changed a lot in 20 years, any boy who would (1) let a nude photo of himself be taken and (2) send it to another boy, probably objects not so much to gay sex per se as to being forced into gay sex with Tony.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Ah, but they presumably thought they were sending said photos to a chick. Stancl was posting as “Kayla.”

  3. Anderson says:

    Ah yes, reading would’ve disclosed that, eh?

    Still.

    And I’m also with you: given the choice between public humiliation via nude photo and private humiliation via sodomy, the former choice seems pretty easy, ESPECIALLY for a freakin’ high school kid. I mean, nowadays, practicing law and married with kids, I might actually have to think about it. Age 17, who cares?

  4. DL says:

    Blackmailed? Whatever happened to the word, choice?

  5. James Joyner says:

    Blackmailed? Whatever happened to the word, choice?

    Threatening to engage in criminal acts to coerce slightly less unwanted actions is the very definition of blackmail. “Choice” under coercion is not “choice” at all.

  6. just me says:

    I would also think that threatening exposure in exchange for a specified sex act is a sexual assault.

    If this young man were threatening girls, i am pretty sure rape would have been somewhere in the headline.

    I do wonder though why one would be willing to send naked pics over the net, but then be willing to do a sex act to keep them secret. I almost wonder what it is about kids and the internet that makes them so stupid.