Whitman County Courthouse

COLFAX, WA - 24-year-old Kyle William Gaumnitz, of Richland, and a former student of both Washington State University and the University of Idaho, was found guilty in the Whitman County Superior Court on Friday of one count of Extortion in the Second Degree with Sexual Motivation, and four additional counts of Extortion in the Second Degree.

Police investigations revealed that Gaumnitz extorted, or attempted to extort, many different victims "through years of systematic and complex efforts," according to a statement from the Whitman County Prosecutors Office. The investigation overlapped and connected Gaumnitz to independent investigations by police departments around the State of Washington, including the Pullman Police Department.

Prosecutors say Gaumnitz would often obtain, or pretend to have obtained, nude photos of women, and try to get them to send nude photos or perform sex acts online in order to avoid him releasing their supposed nude photos to friends and family members on their social networks. He sometimes threatened them with physical harm, and often threatened them with "ruining their lives."

Gaumnitz tried to hide his activity by using the identities of men he knew from work or his various schools and by using prepaid or internet phone numbers. However, WSU Police were still able to track these various identities and numbers back to Gaumnitz. A search of his computer revealed a list of women who had either gone unreported or unsolved. Many of them knew Gaumnitz as a former boyfriend, co-worker, or friend of a friend.

Gaumnitz was sentenced to 28 months in prison and 3 years of supervision after he is released. He will have to register as a sex offender.