Father of South Carolina sextortion victim aims to increase penalties

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 5:00 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A state lawmaker from South Carolina is now on a mission to educate other parents about the deadly dangers of sextortion.

19 News has shared Brandon Guffey’s painful story, now People Magazine is sharing his story worldwide.

“You know I’ve gotten hundreds of messages from, sadly, other teens and parents that have gone through this, just since the magazine dropped a couple of days ago,” Guffey says.

Guffey’s 17-year-old son Gavin took his life last July as a result of being sextorted.

Guffey says his son thought he was talking to a college volleyball player, who convinced him to send nude pictures.

The predator threatened to release them if he didn’t pay up. Gavin paid, but, it wasn’t enough.

Guffey filed a House Bill 3583 to make sextortion a crime with a punishment of up to 30 years in prison.

He wants all states on board, including Ohio.

“These criminals are continuing to extort these teenagers until a lot of them end up committing suicide,” Guffey says.

Guffey and his family are sharing their fight. They are now forever connected in this tragedy with Tamia and Tim Woods.

The Streetsboro couple’s teen James, also took his life after he felt there was no way out.

A sextortionist tried to blackmail the 17-year-old for $6,000.

“Us parents that have lost children to this, I can certainly see us all teaming up together to attack this issue,” Guffy says. “But, Miss Woods is a very strong lady. My heart, you know, we continue to pray for the Woods family.”

Guffey says there’s already been an arrest in his son Gavin’s case, and more are expected to follow.

As his sextortion bill moves onto a full committee, Guffey hopes it will pass this year in the House.