Broward County Sheriff's Office
A Florida man is facing charges of cyberstalking and extortion after he allegedly threatened to release fake, sexually explicit photos of state Sen. Lauren Book to Fox News.
Jeremy Kamperveen of Plantation, Florida, was arrested by the Broward County's Sheriff's Office Nov. 17, according to The Miami Herald. Kamperveen, 19, allegedly sent Book "sexually explicit photos" featuring "female genitalia and the portrayal of a sexual act," per the Herald, which he threatened to release unless the senator gave him $5,000 in gift cards.
Book reached out to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) after receiving the messages, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office arrest report obtained by CBS 4 Miami. The state senator told the FDLE that she was sent multiple messages, including one of her own breasts, which she told authorities "she had taken of herself and only shared with a close friend," per the Herald.
The FDLE impersonated Book online in order to apprehend Kamperveen, according to the Herald, and the 19-year-old was eventually arrested at a Starbucks in Sunrise, Florida, five days after Book alerted the FDLE of the messages Nov. 12.
Kamperveen confessed to sending the explicit messages to Book, but the arrest report did not reveal how he obtained them, CBS 4 reports. Following his arrest, Kamperveen was released on a $60,000 bond, per the Herald.
Kamperveen is a member of Book's district and is registered as a Democrat, according to the Herald. He does not have a previous criminal record.
Book released a statement Thursday about the investigation, saying, "Three weeks ago, I became the victim of ongoing sexual harassment and extortion," per the Herald.
She continued, "I immediately notified law enforcement and began working closely with them to track those responsible for sending threatening and disturbing images and messages to my phone, including distorted, fake and stolen images created in an effort to intimidate, threaten, and extort me."
Book is a survivor of sexual abuse. She founded the group Lauren's Kids in 2007, which helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse and works to prevent abuse.
The case is currently under investigation by the FDLE, per the Herald. Book thanked authorities for their help in her statement, saying, "My family and I are most grateful to law enforcement for their swift action resulting in the apprehension of one suspect."
She added, "The investigation is active and ongoing to ensure that other individuals that could be behind these serious criminal acts that are targeting me are apprehended and brought to justice."