Gavin had been the victim of sextortion, wherein scammers solicit nude photographs from individuals, then threaten to publish them on the internet if they don't pay up. Following his son's death, Guffey has worked tirelessly to ensure that other children are protected. On Thursday the South Carolina legislature passed a new bill, Gavin's Law, that would criminalize sextortion.
According to CNN, 17-year-old Gavin shot himself in a bathroom at the Guffey home in Rock Hill, South Carolina on July 27 of last year. While the incident baffled the family for weeks, they eventually discovered that he had been scammed by someone online, posing as a young woman, into sharing nude photos of himself.
During the months after Gavin's death, the scammers relentlessly barraged members of the family with threats warning that they'd publish the images unless they received money.
Guffey, who was running for office at the time of his son's death, was later elected, and used his platform to ensure such scammers were subjected to harsh penalties.
"If you can extort 10 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," Guffey said, explaining how easy it was for scammers to make a profit off their victims, "and teenage boys, whenever they see they're getting that attention (from a girl), they're not necessarily thinking."
Gavin's Law was passed unanimously, and when it goes into effect, sextortionists will face up to five years in prison for their first offense.
The suspect in Gavin's case has not been caught.
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