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This article was published 4/12/2014 (2486 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Two brothers from western Manitoba have been sentenced to 16-months in jail for an extreme case of cyberbullying and online sexual exploitation.
The victim, a 14-year-old girl, first met the two accused -- both minors at the time -- through Facebook and other social media platforms. Over a period of several days – and thousands of lines of online text messages – she was threatened into both taking and sending explicit nude photos of herself.
"The communication was intense and relentless, occurring day and night," provincial court Judge Don Slough said in handing down his decision today in Dauphin. "The accused, acting in tandem, alternatively flattered and abused the victim, demanding progressively more explicit images; instructing the victim as to what sexual acts she was to perform and digitally record."
The brothers promised the girl they would keep the images to themselves.
"They broke this promise, distributing explicit images, via social media, to various people within their common community, including people with whom the victim went to school. The images included her face, as well as her breasts and vagina," said Slough.
The girl’s parents got suspicious in January 2014 when her behaviour and demeanor changed dramatically, court was told. They demanded to see her iPod and found some of the messages the boys had sent her. They immediately contacted RCMP.
Both accused were charged in May 2014 with possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, invitation to sexual touching and transmit sexually explicit material to a child for a photo of a penis they sent her.
"The bullying and sexual exploitation of children, via social media, represents a new and disturbing phenomena in our society," said Slough. "The accused, having identified a vulnerable victim, subjected her to a relentless attack. The only apparent motivation for this attack being a desire to exploit, demean and humiliate the victim."
Both accused told police that what they did "was fun, but now feel it was stupid." They have been assessed as high risks to re-offend.
The mother of the victim filed an impact statement with court, saying her teen daughter has suffered extreme emotional distress and "has transformed from a happy child into someone who was deeply troubled."
"Because the accused, using social media, sent images of the victim to the victim’s friends and other members of the community, this incident is well-known in the small town in which the victim resides. She has been called names at school. The victim's mother states that the family feels profound violation and have lost their sense of safety and security," said Slough.
Slough gave them 16 months of closed custody, followed by eight months of community supervision and one year of supervised probation.
"For offenses of this sort, it is important that other people, who might be tempted to become involved in such predatory activity, be warned that doing so will have significant consequences," said Slough.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.