TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa Police arrested a man accused of convincing three teenage boys to send him sexual photos, then he threatened to share those photos if the boys didn’t pay hundreds of dollars.
Police arrested Samuel Lehman. Documents said Lehman demanded $1,000 from the first two victims and when one didn't pay, the photos were sent to seven other people.
Prosecutors said predators target victims who are the most vulnerable, like kids and teenagers.
They said sexting has become commonplace and whether it's for financial gain or sexually explicit reasons, predators are targeting victims every day by using social media.
"There are people who want to take advantage of them. There are people who want to hurt them for money, or just for sport,” said Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Elmore, who is the director of the special victims unit.
Police said the third victim sent several nude photos to who he thought was a girl on Snapchat.
"You have no control over it once it is sent. How they save it or what they do with it is what you can't control. Once it’s out there it is out there,” said Elmore.
Elmore said they are concerned that predators exist, but especially concerned with how they use technology to target victims.
He said parents and kids both need to be on high alert during the pandemic.
"It is a lot of teenagers who are bored and are reaching out on these various social media apps to talk to people. Sometimes you have an adult who is reaching out to a child who can exhibit this grooming behavior of trying to get them comfortable with sending photographs,” said Elmore.
He said parents need to know how common sexting is and talk to their kids about it and how hard it is to really know who you are talking to on social media.
"When you start to target someone who is vulnerable, it is something we are going to take seriously, we are going to prosecute and we are going to hold them accountable,” said Elmore.
Elmore said just by sharing a nude photo of someone under 18, you can be charged with distributing child porn.
He also said, if your child has been extorted, they need to report it immediately, before it escalates.