Judge sentences Idaho man to jail for blackmailing Hyrum girl

LOGAN — A judge has sentenced a 21-year-old Idaho man to jail for extorting nude photos and videos from a Hyrum girl. Judge Kevin Allen warned Michael B. Powell he will end up in prison if he doesn’t get help.

Powell was arrested in October 2017 after a 17-year-old girl told police how the defendant blackmailed her into sending nude photos and videos of herself to him. The two had a relationship that began two years earlier. During that time, he convinced her to send him nude pictures of herself. He then began extorting her for more graphic photos and videos, threatening to send the pictures he had to her family, if she didn’t comply.

The threats 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.

Powell was sentenced in 1st District Court Monday afternoon. He previously accepted a plea deal after being found competent to stand trial. He pleaded guilty to sexual extortion and sexual exploitation of a minor, both second-degree felonies.

Prosecutor Jacob Gordon asked the court to send Powell to prison. He noted how the defendant’s actions terrified the victim, and will likely traumatize her for the rest of her life.

Powell spoke briefly, telling the court he regretted what he did. He said, “I was not in the right state of mind.”

Judge Allen ordered Powell to serve one-year in jail and to complete sex offender therapy. He also refused to give him credit for the 10-months he had already served, saying jail will offer more help than prison would. He warned Powell, he would send him to prison if he didn’t successfully complete treatment. “If you don’t do these things I fear for your safety and others.”



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