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Ohio Lawmakers Propose Bill To Crack Down on Sextortion After Death of Teen


OHIO –  Republican lawmakers have introduced bills that would boost the punishment in Ohio for people who ask others to share explicit photos online, and then use those pics to blackmail them.

The bill would become known as “Braden’s Law,” in memory of the 15-year-old Olentangy HS student who took his life in Oct. 2021 as he was being victimized by online predators. Those predators acted as if they were a 15-year-old girl and were sent lewd photos, in return Braden was requested to send the same inappropriate photos in exchange. After the individual convinced Braden to send a photo back, he immediately demanded $1,800 and threatened to release the photo on social media if Braden did not send him money. Braden took his life only 27 minutes after being contacted by the sextortionist.

Sexual extortion, or sextortion, is the act of coercing someone to share sexually explicit images of themselves, either through text or webcam, then threatening to release the images to the public unless the victim pays the perpetrator not to. Sextortion predators usually target a person who is younger than 18 to victimize. 

State Representative Brian Lorenz (R-Powell) said, “This is truly a tragedy, Braden was a bright student that was manipulated and pushed to the point where he felt he had no other option but to end his life. We can never let something like this happen again in Ohio and we must make sexual extortionist think twice before committing this crime in our state.”

Braden’s Law will make the act of sextortion a crime and will allow a parent or guardian to gain access to a phone or device belonging to a deceased minor through the Court of Common Pleas within 30 days. This legislation will also provide immunity to a victim of sexual extortion for sending sexually explicit images and to telecommunication carriers. The bill will also include compensation to victims of this crime.