Father of sextortion victim fights for justice
High schooler Jordan DeMay’s father, John DeMay, joins "America’s Newsroom" in memory of his son and shares how young people are targeted online for money or content.
This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The father of a high school athlete who died by suicide in 2022 after becoming the victim of a sexual extortion, or “sextortion,” scam on Instagram believes the issue is much more dire than a recent FBI report suggests.
The social media crime trend is called sextortion in which bad actors entice or solicit a minor to engage in sexual acts or send blackmail money, according to the FBI, which received more than 13,000 reports of online financial sextotion involving at least 12,600 victims between October 2021 and March 2023.
“It is most alarming to me that it’s allowed to get that far,” John DeMay, Jordan DeMay’s father, told Fox News Digital. “And social media companies aren’t doing a whole lot to stop this, apparently, because that’s where it’s happening, and it’s happening a lot.”
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John DeMay is sounding the alarm about a crime called “sextortion” after his 17-year-old son, Jordan DeMay, died by suicide after becoming the victim of a sextortion scheme in 2022. (Handout)
Jordan DeMay was 17 years old when a Nigerian scammer engaged him in a sextortion plot, ultimately leading the football player to take his own life.
Samuel Ogoshi, 22, is one of three suspects from Lagos arrested last year for allegedly hacking Instagram accounts and sextorting approximately 130 victims online. Ogoshi, his 20-year-old brother, Samson Ogoshi, and Ezekiel Ejehem Robert, 19, posed as women on Instagram and coerced young men into exchanging explicit photos, federal authorities said in charging documents.
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Ogoshi, who is currently facing multiple federal charges in the United States, allegedly took over a woman’s Instagram account and struck up a conversation with Jordan one night in March 2022.
Nigerian brothers Samuel and Samson Ogoshi are charged in connection with Jordan DeMay’s suicide after allegedly plotting a sextortion scheme against him. (Economic and Financial Crimes)
Once Jordan sent an explicit photo of himself, Ogoshi threatened to expose it and make it go “viral” online if Jordan did not immediately send money. Jordan complied and sent the suspect money, but the crime only escalated from there as Ogoshi demanding more and more money from the 17-year-old.
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The exchange went on for hours on a single night until Jordan told Ogoshi that he was going to kill himself.
“Good,” Ogoshi wrote. “Do that fast. Or I’ll make you do it. I swear to God.”
Jordan Demay began chatting with someone he thought was a woman on Instagram under the username “dani.robertts.” (Handout)
The FBI describes sextortion as a criminal act in which an offender contacts a minor online and coerces the minor to send explicit images or videos in exchange for either more explicit material or money. In the first case, the FBI said, offenders “are seeking sexual gratification.”
In the second case of financially motivated extortion, “offenders threaten to release that compromising material unless they receive payment, which is often requested in gift cards, mobile payment services, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency.”
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“These offenders are motivated by financial gain, not necessarily just sexual gratification,” the FBI said in a press release.
John DeMay also said he would tell Jordan “every single day” if he had “a chance” that threats from the sextortionist were not the end of his life. (Handout)
John DeMay said his initial reaction to the FBI’s 13,000 number was that he believes the actual number of sextortion victims in the United States is much higher, but due to the stigma surrounding the crime and its victims, many people do not report it to authorities.
“That 13,000 is probably only 10% … of the actual reports for a few reasons. First, people don’t really understand that anything could possibly happen because it just seems so unattainable,” DeMay said of victims potentially getting justice. “So people, if they’re victimized, they move on from it. They shut it down. They don’t tell anybody because it’s sensitive.”
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Second, DeMay said, based on his own anecdotal experience speaking with families in his small Michigan hometown whose children have been victimized by sextortion, he believes the actual number of victims may be much higher than 13,000.
The average age of sextortion victims is between 14 and 17 years old, the FBI said in a press release last week, but the agency noted that any child can become a victim. Offenders of financially motivated sextortion typically originate from African and Southeast Asian countries, according to the FBI.
Sextortion can lead to suicide and self-harm. Between October 2021 and March 2023, the majority of online financial extortion victims were boys. These reports involved at least 20 suicides, the FBI said.
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The FBI also saw a 20% increase in sextortion incidents involving minors between October 2022 and March 2023.
“The consequences of sextortion are being felt across the country,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement last week. “In an effort to protect the American public, the FBI encourages parents, educators, caregivers, and children to learn more about the steps they can take to [FBI] 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20535 – 0001 shield themselves and their loved ones from this crime. We and our partners will relentlessly pursue criminals who perpetuate this deplorable activity.”
DeMay encouraged victims to come forward if they become the victim of a sextortion crime. If one victim comes forward, DeMay said, there is a greater chance of authorities identifying a suspect.
If a person believes they have been victimized by a sextortion scheme, DeMay added, they should immediately ignore the suspect and save any conversations they may have had with that person online so that authorities can sift through it and eventually use it as evidence.
“It’s a puzzle,” DeMay said. “I spent some time in law enforcement earlier and … it’s what needs to happen. The FBI isn’t a very large agency, but they’re very effective. And they build cases by cross-referencing data. And sometimes it’s like a puzzle. Sometimes you just need that one other piece to really put the whole center of that puzzle together.”
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The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has created a free service called “Take it Down,” which is meant to help victims of sextortion erase explicit images of victims or get bad actors to stop sharing them online. The tool can be accessed at https://takeitdown.ncmec.org.
The FBI encourages anyone who believes they may be the victim of sextortion or know someone who may be a victim to immediately contact local law enforcement or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or online at tips.fbi.gov.
Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for Fox News Digital and FOX Business. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter at @audpants.