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Kauai man who extorted sex from hopeful models sentenced to 10 years

September 14, 2012
The Maui News

LIHUE (AP) - A Kauai man whom prosecutors said extorted sex and cash from hopeful models he lured through social media has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Leonard Alpeche Jr., 29, was sentenced Wednesday in two separate cases involving multiple counts of felony sexual assault and extortion, the Kauai County prosecuting attorney's office said.

Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho said Alpeche in 2010 used Facebook and other social-networking sites to "stalk, extort and later sexually assault his young female victims."

He used the identity of an actual 15-year-old girl to create a Facebook account and claimed to be a model for a fictitious modeling agency, in order to lure victims to send him bikini, seminude and nude photographs.

He then threatened to expose the photos if they didn't meet with him personally. Wearing a mask and hood, Alpeche met a 21-year-old victim at a ballpark and claimed to be a victim himself. He told her the modeling agency was part of an organized crime syndicate, and that the mobsters would harm him and his young son if he didn't provide photos of sex acts with the woman, Iseri-Carvalho said.

He also was charged in a similar case involving extorting more than $7,500 from a minor. He threatened to release her revealing photos if she didn't provide money and sex, prosecutors said.

"Although he wasn't charged with theft, Mr. Alpeche stole something from each of the victims," First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jake Delaplane said in court. "He stole their innocence, their sense of security and the ability to live a normal life."

Alpeche pleaded guilty in May in a plea deal.

Deputy Public Defender John Calma said it was technology and social media that made the crimes possible.

Alpeche apologized in court, the Garden Island reported.



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