A Mableton man is facing federal charges for the ‘sextortion’ of young women – some of which were underage girls in Savannah.
Benjamin Jenkins, also known as “Rei,” “Reithe8th” and “Dani Domo,” allegedly lured more than 100 young girls into sending him illicit photos and videos.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, when girls opposed his demands, Jenkins made violent threats against the victims and shared their sexually-explicit photos on Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist and other websites.
Investigators claim they have evidence showing Jenkins is responsible for sextortion, or sexual exploitation involving coercion, more than 100 times over the past two years.
One of those sites used is ANON-IB, or Anonymous Image Board, which catalogs nude pictures of girls that are swapped like trading cards.
The site organized photos, videos and message boards by country, state and city. Some users even made requests for certain schools like the Savannah College of Art and Design.
ANON-IB’s servers were seized in April, but often pictures return even after they have been removed.
“I can usually tell when my pictures are back online because I get an influx of friend requests from random men and people I don’t know,” said Belinda Berry, a victim of sextortion. “The danger really comes in because they are posting names, and hometowns. They can find your employers, your coworkers, your families, and victimize you that way.”
Whoever snaps a picture owns the copyright of that photo, but as Emily Skolrood with the Chatham County Police Department explained, it is difficult to keep track of who has control.
“Anything that you send to somebody – especially over the internet – you are giving control over to them,” said Skoolrod. “So think about how much you trust that person, how much you know people. the internet has a way of archiving these things.”
She suggests talking to adolescents about appropriate pictures and keeping watch if they are vulnerable to an online friendship.
As for adults, officials suggest watermarking pictures or keeping your face or identifying marks out of photos.
In addition, updating phone security and changing or creating complicated passwords is suggested.