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Tewksbury man pleads guilty to rape, extortion charges in Medford case

Posted by Jarret Bencks  June 19, 2013 09:50 AM

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A Tewksbury man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from tricking  teenage girls into sending him nude images, and in some cases using them to blackmail the victims into having sex with him, according to prosecutors.

hutch.jpegThomas Hutchinson, 21, was sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to over 50 charges, including rape of a child by force, two charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, extortion, and 17 counts of possession of child pornography, according to an announcement from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

Hutchinson was arrested in July 2011 after a 15-year-old Medford girl turned to authorities for help. The girl had met Hutchinson through MyYearbook.com, since changed to www.meetme.com, where he used multiple aliases to lead her to believe he was in the modeling industry and eventually convinced her to send him nude photos, prosecutors said.

In an e-mail exchange, Hutchinson told the girl the photos would be published online and she would be raped if she didn't agree to have sex with his "friend," prosecutors said. 

He used another e-mail account and arranged to pick her up at her home in Medford, and forced her to perform a sex act on him in his car, according to prosecutors.

A search of Hutchinson's home computer uncovered illicit photos and videos of dozens of girls who appeared to be under 18, which led prosecutors to additional victims. There were several other instances where Hutchinson used the images to force the victims into having sex with him, according to prosecutors.

"This defendant, hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, gained access to and exploited unwitting young people," Ryan said in a statement. "Not satisfied with only deceiving and manipulating these victims online, he then tried to extort some of them with threats of disclosing their activities online and assaulted others when he forced them to meet with him in person. This case is a stark reminder of the potential dangers of predators who manipulate the relative freedom of the internet for their own ends."

In addition to the prison sentence, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Edward Leibensperger ordered Hutchinson to 15 years of subsequent probation; to have no contact with any of the victims; no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18; comply with the requirements of the Sex Offender Registry; undergo sex offender treatment; refrain from use of the Internet or any computers or smart phones; and be subjected to GPS monitoring.

In all, Hutchinson pleaded guilty to the following charges: Rape of a child by force; rape; assault with intent to rape a child; two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14; four counts of attempted extortion; child enticement; 17 counts of possession of child pornography; 10 counts of posing a child in a state of sexual conduct; 10 counts of posing a child in a state of nudity; three counts of dissemination of visual matter of a child in sexual conduct; dissemination of visual matter of a child in a state of nudity; two counts of dissemination of matter harmful to a minor; and carrying a dangerous weapon.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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