SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (KSTU) -- A Utah man has been charged with numerous felonies after authorities said he sexually extorted girls online, with more than 50 potential victims identified.
An agent with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began an investigation into 19-year-old Gabe Ryan Gilbert in August 2018 after receiving a report from Snapchat about a user who was extorting minors.
Gilbert was booked into jail this week after being sent home from a mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A 15-year-old user reported that Snapchat user “Ethan Parker” threatened to Photoshop images of her face onto nude photos and “expose her” if she didn’t send the man nude pictures of herself.
The girl laughed off his threats but reported the exchange to Snapchat, who reported it to ICAC.
“When I examined the results of the search warrant from Snapchat it was obvious the user had been engaging in very similar behavior with other underage girls,” the agent wrote in the statement of probable cause. “I identified well over fifty (50) potential victims of this type of sexual extortion.”
In one case the man threatened to send “56 year old rapists or human traffickers” to her home if she didn’t comply, and then he sent the girl screen shots of her exact location -- including an image of her home.
He told another girl he would be, “posting your nudes all over the internet and sending them to creeps. So have fun.”
Some of the victims complied with the demands to send photos or videos, while others did not.
Police gathered digital evidence and showed the victims photos to identify the suspect as 19-year-old Gabe Ryan Gilbert, who was 17 at the time some of the exchanges and an adult at the time of some of the others.
He is so far charged with five counts of aggravated sexual extortion of a child as first-degree felonies and four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor as second-degree felonies.