Former WSU student pleads guilty to extorting women for nude photos
PULLMAN, Wash. — A former Washington State University student pleaded guilty to charges of extortion with sexual motivation on Thursday.
Kyle Gaumnitz, 24, pleaded guilty to five counts of second-degree extortion in Whitman County, according to Pullman Radio.
The case began in Fall 2017 when two WSU students told campus police that an unknown man was extorting them over Snapchat and Tinder, a popular dating app.
The women told police they sent intimate photos to Gaumnitz, who threatened to share them to friends and family if the women refused to send more.
The original two victims told police that Gaumnitz used the names “Nathan Giles” and “Jake Johnson.” Investigators filed search warrants with several internet service providers and learned the accounts belonged to Gaumnitz.
WSU Police raided his home in February 2018 and collected his computers and other digital devices which revealed about 50 additional alleged victims from as far away as California.
“We occassionally see cases once in a while where you’ll have one victim and an unknown suspect,” said WSU Police Assistant Chief Steve Hansen. “To have somebody do this, I mean a predator like this going out there actively searching for folks is uncommon.”
Police interviewed a total of 27 women who shared similar accounts of Gaumnitz threatening to release nude photos. Some of the women said they had never sent any. Many of the women were friends and co-workers of Guamnitz.
WSU Police also suspected Gaumnitz in another case involving female ROTC Cadets. Gaumnitz was a member of that unit.
The Richland Police Department suspected Gaumnitz in another case involving one of his high school classmates.
Guamnitz worked as a resident assistant at Waller Hall, an all-male dorm in 2013.
Guamnitz is expected to be sentenced next month.
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