According to an article in The Valley Dispatch, a man was convicted of extortion as a result of texting threats to publish nude pictures of the victim. In this case, a the victim got a restraining order against the Defendant. He then sent texts and made calls to the victim’s cell phone threatening to publish nude pictures of the victim on Facebook. Besides violating the restraining order, these threats also constituted the crime of extortion.
The elements of the crime of extortion are (1) a malicious threat (2) made to a named person (3) to accuse someone of a crime or to injure someone’s person or property (4) with intent to extort money or something of value. In this case, a threat to publish nude photos is a malicious threat. He made the threats to a named person, the woman who took out the restraining order. While publishing nude photos is not accusing someone of a crime, it would constitute an injury to the person of the woman. Harm to reputation or ability to obtain employment is harm to a person. Extortion is not limited to physical harm. It includes emotional and psychological harm. The element of intent to extort something of value means of value to the Defendant. It does not have to be money. In the case of Commonwealth v. Miller, 385 Mass. 521 (1982) the value obtained was sexual intercourse.