An Indiana man named Richard Finkbiner was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Wednesday for coercing more than 13 minors, mostly teen boys, from across the country into stripping and performing lewd acts for web cameras. According to the Associated Press, 39-year-old Finkbiner used a false online identity to gain the teenagers’ trust, then threatened them with exposure if they did not do his bidding.
“The sheer number of individuals Finkbiner exploited and extorted justifies a sentence Finkbiner is almost certain not to outlive,” said prosecutors June 18 in court documents from Terre Haute, Indiana U.S. District Court.
The estimated number of victims is believed to be higher than 150, but only around a dozen were positively identified by prosecutors. Finkbiner targeting teens between 12 and 17 years of age, entering chat rooms on Omegle.com, a website that connects users randomly in one-on-one chats. Finkbiner fooled other users by using an avatar depicting someone other than himself engaged in a sex act.
He would gain the teens’ trust and convince them to disrobe and take pictures with the cameras on their computers. The Brazil, Indiana resident would then threaten to send those photos to the teenagers’ parents and friends if they didn’t comply with his demands for even more risque and potentially humiliating photos.
Linkliner called his victims “cam slaves.” He accumulated more than 22,000 separate video files of his “slaves” over the course of multiple years. He has been sentenced to 40 years behind bars and fined $700,000.
The Indianapolis Star reported that Finkbiner was arrested in April of 2012 on “11 counts of sexual exploitation of children, two counts of extortion and one count of possession of child pornography.”
Court records cited the case of a 12-year-old boy who refused to do more explicit videos, but pleaded with Finkbiner not to post the videos he had already done online. Finkbiner posted them anyway.
In January, Finkbiner agreed to plead guilty to child exploitation, extortion and possession of child pornography in exchange for a recommended sentence of 30 to 50 years in prison. On the judge’s orders, as with most cases involving sex offenders, Finkbiner will be supervised by federal officials even after his eventual release in the 2050s, if he should live that long.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.