Teen Gets 21 Months Probation for Sending Nude Photo to Victim’s Instagram Followers After Failed Extortion Attempt

SINGAPORE – After a failed attempt to extort money from his teenage victim, a 16-year-old boy followed through on his threats by sending a naked photo of the girl to all his Instagram followers.

Now 17, he was sentenced to a total of 21 months of probation, including four months of intensive probation on Tuesday (May 21).

He pleaded guilty in January this year to one count of distributing or threatening to distribute an intimate image.

A similar charge was taken into account during sentencing.

Before sentencing, suitability reports were requested for both probation and reformative training, and he was found suitable for both.

The 17-year-old cannot be identified by law as he was under 18 when he committed the crime. His victim cannot be named under a gag order to protect his identity.

WHAT HAPPENED

Investigations revealed that on June 17 last year, the offender had sent the victim, now 17, a nude photograph of herself, which she had previously sent to an acquaintance via the dating app “Wink”.

The offender found out that his schoolmate had a copy of the nude photograph and, although he did not know the victim personally, he had asked for a copy of the photograph along with his Instagram account details.

Court documents indicated the victim was shocked after receiving the nude photo of herself and asked the teen to delete it.

However, he told her that he was not going to delete it and threatened to send it to the principal of her school.

When she asked the offender why he was doing this to her, he responded that it was “racist.” Court documents did not elaborate on this point.

Feeling distressed, she asked the criminal what he wanted and to “tell her the price.”

He asked for S$200 as payment before increasing the amount to S$300 because he “felt very angry” with the victim.

As she tried to make a video call to the offender, he continued to threaten her saying, “call me one more time, that’s it brother, I’m done playing with you. I’m going to send this to your school.”

He also used abusive language by calling her “fat.”

The criminal finally gave his victim an ultimatum, when she stopped responding and instructed him to send her a text message via Telegram or he would send her photo to each of his Instagram followers.

Instead of following his instructions, she posted an Instagram Story on her account, alerting her followers to the possibility of receiving the nude image and to “delete and report him” for sharing a nude photo without consent and harassment.

She then sent the screenshot to the offender, who became more aggressive and threatened the victim before carrying out his threat by sending copies of her nude photograph to his followers.

The offender continued to threaten and harass the victim after that and when she asked him to “stop”, he threatened to reveal where she went to school.

Even when she told him she could get him arrested, the offender continued to taunt and threaten her by insinuating that she would get in trouble first “for sending you nudes anyway.”

The victim eventually told her mother about the threats and a police report was filed on June 18 of last year.

During the investigations, the offender admitted that he had threatened to send the photograph to the victim’s Instagram followers because he was trying to scare her and cause psychological harm.

‘HE IS NOT A HARDENED CRIMINAL’: JUDGE

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Jocelyn Teo had argued that reformative training, rather than probation, would be a more appropriate sentence.

This is because general and specific deterrence is important so that other like-minded youth, who find themselves in a similar situation, understand the serious consequences of engaging in such conduct, said Town Prosecutor Teo.

He added that the offender’s behavior in threatening the victim was also atrocious as his intention was to embarrass her.

Although Deputy Chief District Judge Kessler Soh agreed with the prosecution that the youth had committed a serious crime, he acknowledged that he is not a “hardened criminal.”

“Probation is also a viable option and I am ultimately inclined to give him the opportunity to rehabilitate through a parole order,” he said.

For distributing or threatening to distribute intimate images or recordings, the teenager could have been imprisoned for up to five years, fined, caned, or received any combination of these punishments.