Protecting Suffolk

DA: Holtsville man extorted women into providing explicit images

Joseph Iorio, 21, attempted to extort more than 30 women, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said.

Suffolk’s district attorney is ramping up efforts to fight “sextortion” and so-called “revenge porn,” starting Friday with the guilty plea of a Holtsville man accused of coercing women into giving him explicit images of themselves.

Speaking at a news conference Friday, District Attorney Timothy Sini vowed to end a “reign of terror” on girls and women targeted through social media for sexually explicit images.

“If you are an offender,” Sini said, “I promise that we are coming for you. ”

Sini said his office will more aggressively pursue criminal charges against offenders and educate parents and young people about the risks of sexting or sharing sexually explicit images.

His office will also provide support to victims and push for legislation that would give prosecutors in New York more tools to establish criminal charges against those blackmailing others with nude images or distributing explicit images from previous relationships.

Victims are encouraged to report incidents, he said, by calling 631-853-5602 or emailing, with no fear of judgment and an offer of confidentiality.

Joseph Iorio, 21, a Holtsville college student, pleaded guilty Friday in Central Islip to stalking in the first degree and scheme to defraud. He will be sentenced to a minimum of five years in state prison and three years probation after his release.

Neither Iorio nor his attorney could be reached Friday.

Iorio was a moderator of a website’s chat room that prided itself on uploading explicit images of identifiable girls and women, Sini said.

Iorio reached out to the women and threatened to release the photos — which were provided by boys and young men — if the women did not give him more explicit photos or meet his demands to perform specific acts, Sini said.

The blackmailing operation was orchestrated via Facebook and other social media and digital platforms, where those who sought to join had to contribute nude images to gain full access to more explicit material, the district attorney’s office said. They were required to name and identify the victims.

More than 30 young women fell victim to the scheme, with some “acting as virtual sex slaves,” Sini said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Iorio’s residence. He is from Holtsville.

Original article and journalistic credit can be found here.