The 24-year-old former Washington State University student who was found guilty of extorting women over nude photos was sentenced to 28 months in prison Friday in Whitman County Superior Court.
Kyle Gaumnitz, of Richland, was sentenced on one count of second-degree extortion with sexual motivation and four counts of second-degree extortion.
A Monday news release from Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dan LeBeau stated that in addition to the 28 months in prison, Gaumnitz will be under supervision for three years after he is released. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
Washington State University Police began investigating Gaumnitz in 2017 when police received complaints of harassment and extortion from two female WSU students, according to court documents.
Gaumnitz, while communicating with the women through social media or text, would obtain or pretend to have obtained nude photos of the women. Then, he would threaten to release those nude photos to the victims’ family and friends on social media if the women did not send him more nude photos or perform sex acts online.
“Many of these women were terrified and frightened even when they knew there were no images of them available to be revealed. He sometimes threatened them with physical harm and often threatened them with ‘ruining their lives,’” the news release stated.
LeBeau told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News on Monday the investigation found as many as 75 women in Washington, Idaho and Oregon were affiliated with this case, though not all of their interactions with Gaumnitz rose to the level of a crime. He also said many of them were out of the jurisdiction of the prosecutor’s office.
The news release stated many of the victims knew Gaumnitz as a former boyfriend, co-worker or friend of a friend. Gaumnitz tried to hide his activity by using the identities of men he knew from work or school and by using prepaid or internet phone numbers.
In February 2018, police searched his residence and seized a desktop computer, laptop computers, tablets and cellphones.
“WSU PD officers were still able to track these various identities and numbers back to Gaumnitz, and a search of his computer revealed a list of women who had either gone unreported or unsolved,” the news release stated.
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