A man from Virginia has been handed a six year prison sentence for stalking and threatening two ex-girlfriends with revenge porn pictures and video clips.
Satyasurya Sahas Thumma was given the prison term on November 7 after he was convicted on counts of cyberstalking, unauthorized access of a protected computer, and aggravated identity theft.
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It was found that on two occasions in 2018, Thumma conducted extended harassment campaigns against women who had ended relationships with him. On both occasions, the harassment and threats centered around nude photos and video clips the women had sent him during their time together.
In the first incident, beginning in April of 2018, Thumma posed as an anonymous person who was in possession of the pictures and clips. He used a messaging app with a fake phone number to send the pictures to the woman, then created a Snapchat account which he used to post the photos. From there, he proceeded to share the account and photos with the woman's friends and parents.
And it only gets worse from there.
The second woman, who dated Thumma for several months beginning in the summer of 2018, was subjected to not only stalking and harassment, but also threats of violence and manipulation.
In that case, Thumma also created an anonymous persona, but rather than simply harassing the woman with threats of releasing the nude photos and videos, he concocted an elaborate story where the persona was menacing Thumma and the woman. This account was used to harass the woman and make extortion demands and threats of violence.
Again, Thumma sent the nude photos to the victim's parents and the email account of their church. He also hacked both her Twitter and Facebook accounts, and blamed it on the made-up persona.
This culminated in a March, 2019 incident where Thumma was hospitalized following a DUI traffic accident.
"While lying on a hospital bed wearing a gown that appeared to be spattered with some blood, Thumma feigned being unconscious and took a selfie photograph," the US attorney's office recounts.
"Several hours after being released from the hospital, Thumma used the anonymous texting application to send his hospital selfie photo to Victim 2 and her mom with the message, 'Ur next'."
Fortunately, the FBI was on Thumma's trail, and he was prosecuted by the Virginia Eastern District US Attorney's office. The well-earned six-year sentence was handed down by Judge John Gibney.
Katelyn Bowden, founder and CEO of revenge porn victim advocacy and support group BADASS, told The Register that Thumma's case is one of the rare instances where abusers are brought to justice.
"What we see here is a pattern and escalation - if the police hadn’t gotten involved, how many more victims of cyberstalking would this perpetrator had created? And how long before the abuse would had moved beyond the internet? It should be stopped after the first threat of online exposure," said Bowden.
"Also, note that Mr. Thumma had used apps to hide his identity from the victims. Not only is this completely cowardly, but it obviously provided him no anonymity. The men who commit image abuse often think they’re protected by these services, but the truth is - they’re still completely identifiable." ®