A University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs student was arrested Friday on charges of cyberstalking and extortion.
Gary Leach, a graduate student, was charged with one count of cyberstalking and one count of extortion and appeared in the federal court of the Middle District of Georgia Friday afternoon after he allegedly cyberstalked and extorted a Massachusetts woman for sexually explicit videos, photos and communications for more than a year and a half.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, beginning October 2019, Leach acquired the explicit communications from the woman through false promises of payment. Leach also secretly recorded the woman during the calls, according to the release.
Leach threatened to share the recordings to the woman’s family if she did not continue to send sexual content through Instagram. Leach continued to harass and extort the woman for additional interactions that were of a “sexually explicit and degrading nature,” according to the release.
Leach allegedly contacted and harassed the woman through several anonymous Instagram accounts, according to the release.
While in contact with the woman, Leach allegedly told her that he had engaged in similar conduct with other Instagram users, telling the woman in one message that he has hundreds of videos and thousands of photos of other women. Leach allegedly told the woman some of these other women did not know they were recorded, according to the release.
SPIA Dean Matthew Auer released a statement acknowledging the accusations against Leach on Saturday.
“We recognize that the allegations in the Department of Justice’s press release are deeply troubling,” Auer said in the statement.
The Red & Black reached out to UGA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts, but both declined to comment.
Anyone who believes they may have been targeted is asked to report here.