Creepy 'Sextortionist' Reminds Me Why Moms Need to Check Their Kids’ Online Activity

Richard Finkbiner
Richard Finkbiner
My daughter thinks I’m overprotective—unnecessarily overprotective—but every day, I run across a story that reminds me how many freaks and weirdos really are running loose out here in the world. This guy is one of them: Richard Finkbiner, a 39-year-old alleged sexual deviant who apparently blackmailed underage boys by demanding dirty photos of them. If they didn’t send them, he threatened to spread the racy pictures that he already had in his possession.

"All I ask is for you delete it please im (sic) onlyh (sic) 14 please just do this to somebody else not me please," one of his victims pleaded in an email. How sad is that? What kind of heartless creep would make a kid beg to not have his nudie pics splashed across the world wide web? And even worse, what kind of jerk would solicit and take them in the first place?


Cops initiated a sting after one brave soul filed a criminal complaint against Finkbiner. When police searched his hard drive, they uncovered literally thousands of sexually explicit images and videos of boys in what attorneys estimate to be more than 100 underage victims. That would possibly make this the largest sextortion prosecution ever in the United States. Way to go down in the history books.

The pathetic criminal mastermind who threatened his teenage victims between November 2011 and February 2012 brought his perversion and extortion to a head when he met two 14-year-old boys online using video chat sites. He then found smutty images of the boys, told them that he'd post them all over gay websites if they didn't send him more sexually explicit photos, and bragged that he was above the law. "I won't get caught im (sic) a hacker I covered my tracks," he allegedly wrote to the victim who begged him not to leak his photos online.

But the long arm of justice was too savvy and thankfully, his prediction proved untrue. Finkbiner was arrested in his Indiana home, and investigators have released his photo in hopes of finding more victims. They’re encouraging kids who may have been solicited or badgered by him to come forward—victims and anyone with information are asked to contact the FBI at 877-542-8979—and I am, too. If Finkbiner gets the 30 years of hard time he’s facing, his conviction would start the healing process for many of the kids he’s exploited.

It’s just a reminder, though, that even though teenagers are smelling their independence and think they’re almost grown, they’re not above protective measures of their parents. Just to keep an eye on what’s going on, who they’re talking to, and any dangers they might be in.

I know moms and dads don’t want to encroach on their privacy but I feel like this right here: 1) everything under my roof is subject to search and seizure and 2) it’s for Teen Girl’s own good because, until she’s beyond the influences of peer pressure and the habit of impulsive decision-making—especially when it comes to what she says and does online, where pictures and videos and even statements live on forever and ever—it’s not a bad idea to catch bad behavior, talk about it, and punish her if need be.

We can’t keep an eye on our kids all the time, but I think we should take full advantage of the times that we can. This story just reminded me that homegirl is about due for a little review of her online activity, whether she thinks I’m overprotective or not. For her own safety’s sake.

Do you check up on what your teenagers are doing online? 

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