On Thursday, police arrested a college student who allegedly hacked the webcams of young women, one of his victims was reigning Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf.
The suspect turned out to be a 19-year old man from Temecula, near Los Angeles. The FBI in Southern California has identified the sextortion suspect as Jared James Abrahams.
Investigators say he committed cybercrimes, as he victimized young women surreptitiously, by taking control of their computers then photographing them as they changed out of their clothes.
Later that day, Abrahams appeared in court where he was released “on intensive pretrial supervision and home detention with electronic monitoring” after his parents signed bond agreements totaling $50,000, FBI spokeswoman Lourdes Arocho said.
U.S. District Judge Jean Rosenbluth ruled that he could use a single desktop computer at his parents’ home for school only, albeit only after monitoring software is applied, reports CNN.
According to court papers when the computer geek admitted what he’d done in June, he said he had 30 to 40 “slave computers” – or other people’s electronic devices he controlled – and had had as many as 150 in total.
His arrest came six months after a teenager identified in court documents as C.W. alerted authorities. She has since publicly identified herself as Cassidy Wolf, the recently crowned Miss Teen USA. She touted news reports of her alleged tormenter’s arrest on her Twitter feed.
Abrahams’ attorney Alan Eisner said his client and his family want to “accept the responsibility” and “apologize to the victims, not only the girls, but their families.”
“He acknowledges that the violation and the intrusion is a substantial violation of their privacy, their dignity,” said Eisner in a phone interview, adding that Abrahams until recently attended college and is on the autism spectrum which “affects his ability to engage in reciprocal communications.”
On Friday, Miss Cassidy Wolf sat down for a new interview on The Today Show to discuss the “mixed emotions’”that stem from her sextortion scandal.
“My computer light never came on, so I wasn’t aware. This person had been taking pictures of me in my room, changing clothes from putting on outfits, walking back and forth from the shower,” Wolf recalled.
“I received an anonymous email from an anonymous person [who] basically was extorting me and blackmailing me. I saw that he had attached nude photos of me that he had taken in my bedroom.”
Crowned in August, Wolf said she’s not sure how to feel about Abrahams’ confession, says the Daily Mail. “It’s weird for me to be able to put a face to the person who did this to me, and to know that it was somebody I went to high school with,” she said. “That’s just weird. It’s mixed emotions, honestly.”
Abrahams and Wolf went to the same High School in California, however, Wolf said that she “never had any interactions with him. I went to a very big high school but I knew of him, I knew of his name, I saw him in the hallways.”
She finds herself, “relieved, glad that they were able to find who the person is, but on the other hand it was someone I went to high school with. He he is young, my age, and I just think it’s sad that he chose to do this and has now put himself in this big dilemma.”
The LA Times notes that the Wolf case is the latest in the string of so-called sextortion cases involving suspects who have hacked into victims’ computers to obtain sexually compromising photos.