A disturbing trend claimed the life of a young man last July. According to his dad, his son was targeted by a creep pretending to be a female through online texts. The scammer sent seventeen-year-old Gavin Guffey naked photos and then asked for some of Gavin in return. When Gavin sent photos of himself, the real harassment began.
Gavin was extorted for money as soon as he sent a photo of himself, with the scammer demanding that Gavin pay to keep his photo from circulating online. Gavin’s dad, Brandon Guffey, was running for political office at the time. Guffey had his sights set on winning a seat in South Carolina’s House of Representatives. Gavin initially begged for more time, transferring his funds into a Venmo account. Then on July 27, 2022, Gavin took his life at the family’s home in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Shortly before ending his life, Gavin texted friends and his brother a heart. Brandon Guffey was devastated by his son’s death and according to Daily Mail, initially thought about dropping out of his house race.
“I was a basket case. I didn’t know what to do,’ Guffey shared, remembering the awful moment he found his son dead in the bathroom, with a pistol on the floor. ‘My initial thought was, this is my fault — I left the gun out.”
Instead of dropping out of his political race, Brandon Guffey stayed in and won. He believes he is supposed to use the tragic experience his family went through to enact change. Guffey proposed a bill making it a crime to extort someone through the use of private photos and information. He said the crime catches kids off guard, they are not considering the danger they are stepping into,
“If you can extort ten teenage boys that aren’t gonna say anything for $100 each, and do all that with one image that you got from a girl, it’s fairly simple.” He continued,
“And teenage boys, whenever they see they’re getting that attention (from a girl), they’re not necessarily thinking.”
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Sextortionists may threaten to share sensitive and private information if their victims do not provide money, favors or photos and is a serious problem facing youth.
The Guffey family became the scammers target following Gavin’s death.
But Guffey is fighting back, using his position in the State House. He wants sextortion criminals to “think twice before they target children in South Carolina.” The bill named for Guffey’s son, “Gavin’s Law” recently passed in South Carolina’s State Senate and should be on the Governor’s desk to sign soon.
Under “Gavin’s Law” sextortionists who target minors will face up to five years of prison time for their first offense.
The sextortionist who targeted Gavin has not been caught yet, but harassed the family on Gavin’s birthday. On August 20 Brandon received a message saying “Did I tell you your son begged for his life?” a laughing face emoji was also included in the message to the grieving father. Brandon said he is using the tragedy to fight back,
“I feel like he (Gavin) would want me trying to save additional kids from ever having to feel the way that he felt at that time.”