Manitoba·CBC Investigates

Tinder date threatened to share nude photos if woman didn't agree to sex, warrant alleges

What started as a Tinder date ended with criminal charges after a 25-year-old man allegedly threatened to distribute intimate images of a 22-year-old woman who refused to have sex with him, according a warrant from the RCMP. The charges have not been proven in court which resumes Sept. 21.

Manitoba man charged in sextortion case

A Manitoba man is facing charges for allegedly sending threatening messages to extort a woman for sex. (Diego Ciervo/iStock/Getty Images)

Warning: Explicit language

What started as a Tinder date ended with criminal charges under new cyber crime legislation after a 25-year-old man threatened to distribute intimate images of a 22-year-old woman who refused to have sex with him, according to search warrant documents filed in a Manitoba court. 

RCMP charged the man with extortion, voyeurism and indecent phone calls in March after he allegedly sent a series of threatening texts. 

A woman called police in late February after a text message exchange escalated into demands for sex, or else, according to documents police used to search the man's home for computer equipment.

None of the charges have been proven in court. The lawyer for the accused man declined to comment on the case. The case resumes in court in Manitoba on Sept. 21.

"It's devastating and we deal with the survivors of this kind of sexual extortion and violence all the time," said McGill education professor Shaheen Shariff who has published widely on cyberbullying and sexting. 

"It's taking a while for institutions to accept that online sexual violence of this type is as harmful as actual physical violence."

CBC is not identifying either party in the case or where in the province they are located due to privacy concerns.

1 swipe started it all

The woman met the man on Tinder — a popular dating app — and they went on a few dates over a two week period, according to the woman's statement to police included in search warrant documents. 

During the course of their brief relationship, intimate images were obtained by the man on at least two and possibly three occasions, according to what the woman told police. 

The claimant says she initially sent him two photos, something she describes as regrettable but consensual.

She also told police he took pictures of her against her will.

Tinder date from hell results in charges. Warning: video contains explicit language

5 years ago
Duration 2:16
A rural Manitoba man faces several charges after texts obtained by RCMP show he tried to extort a woman into having sex with him.

"She said that he ripped off her clothes and took the picture," reads the RCMP affidavit. "She expressed she did not want the photographs taken and told him 'no.' The man told her she did not have a choice." 

There was also a possible video the woman believes "may have been taken as she saw what she believed to be a phone when he was taking advantage of her in his truck," according to search warrant documents. The woman alleged the encounter was not consensual and expressed she did not want to 'do-it' outside." 

She told officers he showed her videos that he had taken of other females on his phone. 

Here's an edited version of the conversation, which was included in search warrant request documents. This conversation has not been authenticated in court.

(CBC News Graphics)

The woman alleges he told her he has "friends" in the RCMP and they would ignore her if she reported him.

He also told her "he would hide all the pictures and videos so only he would know where they are," according to search warrant documents. 

Police executed the search warrant at the man's home shortly before sunrise on March 20. They seized 15 items including a laptop, two iPhones, an Xbox One and two Playstation 3 consoles. 

He is currently bound by the conditions of a 2017 protection order involving another woman, which means he has to stay at least 100 metres away from her workplace, residence and other places she regularly goes. The order expires in 2020.

Hard for victims to report 

Following the most recent complaint, in March 2018, the man was charged under the new voyeurism section of the criminal code which makes it an offence to knowingly distribute an intimate image of a person, without the consent of the person depicted in the image.

This section was added to the criminal code after the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act was passed. The law went into effect in 2015. 

Shariff said it can be difficult for a victim of cyber crimes to come forward to police. 

"The record of young women coming forward to report this kind of crime is very low, the stats are very low on reporting," although she adds things may be improving after the #MeToo​ movement. 

According to Statistics Canada, 28 people across the country were charged during the first year of the new voyeurism law that came into force in 2015.

  • Nova Scotia: 2.

  • Quebec: 6.

  • Ontario: 11.

  • Saskatchewan: 2.

  • Alberta: 4.

  • British Columbia: 3.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Integrated Criminal Court Survey

In an emailed statement, Tinder said it has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and inappropriate conduct of any kind.

"We encourage users to report any instances of misconduct via the self-reporting tool featured on all Tinder profiles. In the event that we receive such a report, our dedicated community team takes appropriate measures, which may include removing the profile or banning the user," wrote a Tinder spokesperson. 

Tinder added it encourages anyone who believes they have been a victim of a crime to report to it to police and the company says it will fully co-operate with any investigation.

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