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San Francisco man gets 5 years in prison for extorting teen girl for nude pictures


SAN FRANCISCO — A Bay Area man was sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution for threatening to “expose” a teen girl if she didn’t send him more nude pictures of herself, court records show.

Victor Melero-Luna, 23, pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography and was sentenced last month. He remains out of custody for now, with barely a month before he’s required to turn himself in and begin his sentence.

Prosecutors agreed to the five-year prison term, noting that Melero-Luna was 17 when he received nude pictures of the teen, and 18 when he sent them back to her as part of a scheme to scare and threaten more images from her. If not for his young age, prosecutors indicated they would have sought more jail time.

Melero-Luna’s lawyer described him as a depressed and lonely teen who shut himself off from the outside world and mostly interacted with others through his computer, during the time of his crimes. He was bullied at school, grew up in gang-plagued neighborhood, and was affected by violent video games that demean women, like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, according to the lawyer.

“This is an extremely sad case for all parties involved — particularly the victim, whom Mr. Melero-Luna deeply regrets harming,” Assistant Federal Public Defender Elizabeth Falk wrote in a sentencing memo. “Since his arrest, Mr. Melero-Luna has tried to do everything he can to show how remorseful he is about his criminal behavior.”

Prosecutors say that Melero-Luna threatened to “expose” the girl repeatedly if she didn’t send him more pictures, then accosted her friend, who was also a teen girl. Both girls live in another country and met Merlo-Luna online, police say.

In one text exchange with the victim’s friend, Melero-Luna told her he didn’t “give a f—” that the girl was only 16 and a high school student, and added, “Well RIP to your friend,” followed by a smiley face emoji, and this remark: “I’ll go to jail with her a– exposed.”

Melero-Luna has until May 10 to self-surrender to the Bureau of Prisons and begin his sentence, records show.

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