Salem Radio Network News Friday, May 20, 2022

U.S.

Teen charged with extorting official with explicit photos

MIAMI (AP) — A South Florida teen tried to get $5,000 from a state senator after threatening to release what he said were sexually explicit photos of her, authorities said.

Jeremy Kamperveen, 19, of Plantation, was arrested last month and charged with extortion and cyberstalking, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The arrest report didn’t name the victim, but Florida Sen. Lauren Book, whose district includes part of Broward County, released a statement Thursday saying the threatening messages had been sent to her.

“Three weeks ago, I became the victim of ongoing sexual harassment and extortion,” Book said. “I immediately notified law enforcement and began working closely with them to track those responsible for sending threatening and disturbing images and messages to my phone, including distorted, fake and stolen images created in an effort to intimidate, threaten, and extort me.”

Book is chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and a longtime advocate for victims of child abuse and sexual abuse. She leads a group called Lauren’s Kids.

According to the arrest report, Book contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Nov. 12, after someone sent Book several explicit photos and threatened to ruin her political career by releasing them to the public. An undercover agent took over communication with the unidentified person and eventually negotiated to pay the person $4,000 in cash in exchange for watching the person delete the photos. A meeting was set for Nov. 17 at a Sunrise Starbucks, where agents arrested the person and identified him as Kamperveen.

Kamperveen confessed to sending the messages and photos to Book, officials said. During a search of Kamperveen’s phone, agents reported finding the messages, as well as a folder containing photos and videos of Book. The arrest report didn’t say how Kamperveen had’allegedly obtained the photos.

Book said in her statement that the investigation remains active.

Kamperveen’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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