A teenager in San Jose, California took his own life after falling victim to an online “sextortion” scheme perpetrated by a Los Angeles man, authorities said.
Los Angeles police arrested Jonathan Kassi, 25, of Reseda on Dec. 15 after the Internet Crimes Against Children unit of the San Jose Police Department secured an arrest warrant.
“San José Police ICAC identified Jonathan Kassi as a person involved in the sextortion of a 17-year-old resident of San José, which resulted in his suicide,” police said in a news release.
The boy was identified by the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office as Ryan Last, according to KTLA’s sister station KRON4 in San Francisco.
According to court documents obtained by KRON4, the boy left a note for his family informing them that someone had blackmailed him and that he could not “live with myself anymore.”
On Feb. 25, Last believed that a teen named “Emily” had asked him to join her in a Google Hangout video chat, investigators said.
During the video chat, the perpetrator “told the victim to expose his face and his penis. (The perpetrator) took screenshots of the victim’s penis and face during the video chat (and) informed the victim,” police wrote.
“(The perpetrator) told the victim that if he did not pay him $5,000, he would post the victim’s photos … on YouTube. The victim stated he did not have money and begged (the perpetrator) not to post his intimate photos. (The perpetrator) then told the victim if he provided the victim’s Instagram name and password, he would not post the intimate photos. The victim provided the requested name and password,” San Jose Police Det. Jose Montoya wrote in a criminal complaint.
Once the perpetrator had access to the victim’s Instagram account, he threatened to send the sexually explicit images to the victim’s friends, family, and contacts through Instagram. The boy agreed to send Kassi $150 through Zelle on Feb. 26. But as soon as Kassi received the money, he demanded more money, police said.
At 1:45 a.m. on Feb. 26, the victim sent his last message to Kassi pleading to not “ruin his life.”
Just fifteen minutes later, the boy killed himself, according to police.
LAPD officers transported Kassi to San Jose where he was being held without bail in the Santa Clara County jail Tuesday.
Police believe there could be additional victims.
Anyone with information about this case, or other cases involving Jonathan Kassi is asked to contact Sergeant Pierce #3415 of the San José Police Department’s ICAC Unit at (408) 537-1397 or e-mail email@example.com.
If you or anyone you love is experiencing mental health issues or suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. You can call or text the number 988, which will direct you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
It is free and available 24 hours a day.