Thomas Lee McElroy, 19, Accused of Pulling Bizarre Sextortion Plot
Sexting and sextortion converged in the Lake Forest area last year, when a 19-year-old man allegedly tricked an underage teen girl to have sex and perform oral sex on him, according to prosecutors.
Thomas Lee McElroy faces five counts of rape, two counts of forcible oral copulation and one count each of using an underage person for obscene matter and possessing child pornography.
Currently held on $1 million bail, McElroy could get 84 years to life in prison if convicted, according to Deputy District Attorney Mena Guirguis.
The girl was 17 and a platonic friend of McElroy, who allegedly manipulated computer devices to send her text messages threatening that "bad things would happen to her family" if she did not have sex with him, Guirguis told City News Service.
McElroy is accused of sending himself similar text messages and showing them to the girl to prove he was also being extorted and harassed, said Guirguis, who added the defendant "knew intimate things" about the victim's family that made the threats seem more credible.
Several different phone numbers and personas were also used, and McElroy told the girl their tormentor had "truth serum" that could tell if they lied about having sex, the prosecutor said.
The teen was raped five times, forced to perform oral sex two other times and forced to perform sex acts while videotaped over a two-month period in the spring of last year, alleged Guirguis, who added money was also extorted from the girl.
She finally told family members, who alerted authorities, Guirguis said.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.