Idaho man charged with extorting nude pictures and videos from Hyrum girl

Courtesy of the Cache County Jail

LOGAN — A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for a 21-year-old Idaho man who was arrested last week, accused of extorting nude photos and videos from a Hyrum girl. Michael B. Powell was arrested on December 12 and is being held in the Cache County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Powell made his initial appearance in 1st District Court Monday afternoon. He has been charged with aggravated sexual extortion of a child, a first-degree felony, and 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.

According to an affidavit for arrest warrant, Powell allegedly had a relationship with the 17-year-old girl that began two years ago. During that time, he convinced her to send him nude photos of herself. He then began blackmailing her for more graphic photos and videos, threatening to send the pictures he had to her family, if she didn’t comply. When the girl tried to end the relationship with the suspect, she began receiving messages from an unknown social media account. The user also demanded more nude photos and videos or else he would send one of her nude pictures to others.

The threats allegedly continued through social media and text messages until the victim contacted a school resource officer at Mountain Crest High School. Deputies were able to access the social media accounts and text messages. They tracked them to Powell, who was living in Pocatello, Idaho.

During Monday’s court appearance, Judge Kevin Allen scheduled a preliminary hearing, when he will determine if prosecutors have sufficient evidence to bind Powell over for trial. The hearing was set for January 3.

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