A recent case in Larimer County has Sheriff Justin Smith encouraging parents to speak to their children about the dangers of “sexting” and sharing inappropriate pictures on the Internet. Parents should make a point of examining cell phones, tablets and computers on a regular basis for any signs of this type of activity and closely monitor a child’s computer use.
Internet extortion is a fast growing problem nationwide. The trend of trading inappropriate photographs between peers, known as “sexting,” is becoming very common among school-age children. Sexual predators often pose as peers using other children’s photographs in order to persuade children to engage in “sexting” inappropriate photographs of themselves. They then use these photographs to further extort the child into additional acts. It is also common for these predators to share these images of children with other predators worldwide. Once a photograph has been sent via the internet or a cell phone, it will eventually be shared with others either by a peer or a sexual predator.
In April, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a 14-year-old girl, residing in unincorporated Larimer County, sending an inappropriate photograph of herself to an 18-year-old male posing as a 15-year-old boy from Hollywood, Calif. The girl believed the photograph would be a private matter between herself and the boy.
Once the male had received the photograph, he began blackmailing and extorting the teenage girl into committing and broadcasting additional sexual acts with herself and her 11-year-old sister. The male threatened the girl he would post the pictures on Facebook if she did not comply with his requests.
A joint investigation was initiated between investigators with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and detectives from the Township of Hamilton Police Department, in New Jersey, which led to the identification of a possible suspect.
Paul A. Montalbo of Hamilton Township, New Jersey was arrested in New Jersey on July 17 on a Colorado arrest warrant for:
• Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child, a class three felony, two counts;
• Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, a class four felony, two counts;
• Criminal Extortion, a class four felony, two counts;
• Unlawful Sexual Contact, a class four felony, two counts;
• Criminal Solicitation (Sex Assault on a Child), a class five felony, one count.
Paul Montalbo is currently being held in the Atlantic County, N.J., jail awaiting extradition to Colorado. His bond has been set at $100,000 cash-only.
Due to additional cases under investigation in New Jersey and that the victims in this case are juveniles, no additional information will be given regarding this case.
Anyone with information regarding this or any other crime is asked to call Larimer County Sheriff’s Office at 970-416-1985 or Crime Stoppers at 970-221-6868 where you will remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a cash reward.