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Federal judge orders ‘sextortion’ suspect held without bond

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge on Wednesday ordered an Indiana man charged with coercing a Maryland teen and another boy into making sexually explicit online videos to be held without bond, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

During a hearing in federal court in Terre Haute, defense attorneys told U.S. District Magistrate Judge Craig McKee that they would not seek 39-year-old Richard Leon Finkbiner’s release at this time, said Tim Horty, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

Finkbiner has been in custody since Friday, when he was arrested at his home in the western Indiana city of Brazil. It is not uncommon for suspects in federal criminal cases to be detained until trial.

Horty said Finkbiner only answered “yes” or “no” in response to McKee’s questions.

Federal defender William Marsh was appointed to represent Finkbiner. Marsh didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint that Finkbiner secretly recorded a 14-year-old Michigan boy and another in Maryland performing sexual acts during anonymous video chats, then threatened to post the videos on gay porn sites unless they made more videos for his private use.

When investigators first examined Finkbiner’s computer, they found thousands of explicit video files depicting hundreds of minor victims, authorities say. During questioning by FBI agents, Finkbiner estimated that he had coerced at least 100 young people into making explicit videos, according to the complaint.

Authorities released a mug shot of Finkbiner on Monday, hoping that other potential victims will come forward.

Finkbiner is charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. He could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on both counts.

Prosecutors say the case is an example of “sextortion,” a crime authorities are seeing with greater frequency in which Internet predators catch victims in embarrassing situations online and threaten to expose them unless they create sexually explicit photos or videos.

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