DATE: August 2, 2016
CASE: Christian Hirtzel
PROSECUTOR: Deputy District Attorney James Wax, Cyber Crimes Unit
The Honorable Michael Bowman sentenced Christian Hirtzel to 4 years 8 months in prison. On June 14, 2016, Hirtzel pled no contest to felony charges of extortion, accessing a computer to extort, contacting a minor to commit a sex offense, and possession of child pornography. Hirtzel will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.
Over several years, Hirtzel extorted and attempted to extort at least nine female victims. He obtained compromising photos of victims, primarily by hacking into the victims’ email or social media accounts. He then anonymously messaged the victims, including at least two who were under 18, and threatened to distribute the images to friends, family members, or their college if they failed to send more graphic nude photos or videos of themselves. If they complied, he then used the new photos as additional leverage to make further demands. Several times, he posted the images of victims on social media sites regardless of whether they had complied.
While Hirtzel had previously dated several of the victims, he had only a limited connection with others through high school or college. When asked by one victim why he was doing this, he told the victim he wanted to feel powerful and feel like he had won.
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