Victim of 'revenge porn' in campus emails files complaint with RCMP
'This is sexual assault using technology,' security expert says of emails to University of Moncton students
The University of Moncton student who was the victim of hateful and sexual mass emails over the weekend has filed a complaint with police.
About 10,000 emails were sent Saturday and Sunday containing a sexually explicit photo of a woman, along with a link to a sex video, and hateful and threatening language.
The emails also contained a link to a student's Facebook profile in an apparent attempt by the sender to shame her.
The university estimates it was able to block about 9,000 of the malicious emails, but the remaining 1,000 found their way to students and staff.
Sgt. Eric Larose of the Codiac RCMP confirmed the victim spoke to police Monday afternoon and indicated she wanted to go ahead with an investigation.
Police said they have identified a possible suspect but haven't been able to contact him yet.
He could be charged with distributing intimate images of another person without that person's consent, a charge added to the Criminal Code in 2015.
"She is shaken," Raymond Théberge, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Moncton, said of the victim. "She is thinking about her future."
Théberge said the student is pursuing her studies at the university for now and is receiving help from the school's psychological services.
'This is sexual exploitation'
The university believes the series of three emails came from the same person and were sent from a server in Europe.
The messages appear to be a personal attack, with the sender claiming the student "cheated" on him and saying he wanted to show "the reality of this girl who is acting as an innocent person."
David Shipley, a cybersecurity expert at the University of New Brunswick, said these cases of "revenge porn" are much more common than people realize.
Ninety per cent of the victims are women, and the suspect is someone they knew and trusted.
"This is not sexual harassment," Shipley said. "This is sexual exploitation. This is sexual assault using technology."
Whether the suspect faces charges will depending on where he is in the world and on what extradition agreement Canada has with that country, Shipley said.
"Catching him, I don't think, is going to be the challenge ... It's going to be actually getting him in handcuffs and bringing him back in Canada."
Shipley said there is not a lot of jurisprudence in these cases, with the only conviction to date in Canada having resulted in the accused being sentenced to 90 days of house arrest to be served on weekends.
The maximum sentence for the charge is five years in prison, according to the Criminal Code.