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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3152
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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My daughter (18 years old) was in an online relationship with

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My daughter (18 years old) was in an online relationship with a man (around 22 yrs). Over the past year to year1/2. They broke up during christmas 2012. the man is harressing my daughter and threating to put naked pictures of her on the internet if she doesn't pay him for an airline ticket he brought in April 4, 2012 (when she was 17) for her to come out to see him in Ohio in June 2012. The agreement they went into was that she would pay half of the ticket (again when she was 17). Although my daughter turned 18 April 27, 2012, I would not allow her to go out to him. He wants her to pay him the full amount of the ticket (approx $270.00) by February 28, 2013 and her will not accept half. Which was part of the orginal aggreement (however, she was underage at that time). If he doesn't receive the full amount he will place the pictures on the internet
How can I assist my daughter especially since there is a potential for him to threaten her with these pictures forever?

There are a couple of avenues to consider in dealing with this man.

The first is that the man is likely committing the crime of extortion against your daughter. It is generally considered a crime to ask a person for money in exchange for not exposing something that is embarrassing or humiliating to the person. If this man is in Ohio, as you mentioned, he would be in violation Ohio Revised Code § 2905.11, which provides as follows:

§ 2905.11 Extortion

(A) No person, with purpose to obtain any valuable thing or valuable benefit or to induce another to do an unlawful act, shall do any of the following:

(5) Expose or threaten to expose any matter tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or to damage any person’s personal or business repute, or to impair any person’s credit.

Second, if the photographs of your daughter were taken when she was under the age of 18, the man could also be charged with a variety of crimes involving child pornography. For instance Ohio Revised Code § 2907.31, makes it a crime for anyone to disseminate child pornography.

So, one of things that you can consider is that you can threaten him that if he continues with his threats of asking for payment, or if he disseminates the photos you will pursue criminal charges against him. You can do this yourself, but preferably you should have an attorney from Ohio contact him and say that if he does not immediately cease and desist, and return all photos to your daughter, you will seek criminal charges against him. People take things much more seriously if they are contacted by an attorney. You can contact the Ohio bar association for a quick referral since time is of the essence. This will likely get him to stop.

Third is that since you daughter was a minor at the time, she would have no obligation to pay him. The contracts of a minor can be voided by a minor.

I'm sorry that you daughter is going through this. Try finding an attorney in Ohio to contact him quickly to put pressure on him to stop.

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