Sunday, August 14, 2022

Man pleads guilty for posing as ‘model scout’ to solicit revealing photos from three Wilmington women

Kevin Allen Kerney of Randolph County pleaded guilty to extortion and cyberstalking involving three Wilmington women. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy District Attorney Ben David’s Office)

Update (3:40 p.m.) — Two of the three victims were UNCW students, according to a spokesperson with District Attorney Ben David’s office.

WILMINGTON — A man from Randolph County pleaded guilty to extortion and cyberstalking for posing as a female modeling scout to solicit “photographs in various states of dress and undress” from three New Hanover County women.

Kevin Allen Kerney, 33, had received photographs from at least 14 young females across the state and threatened to share them with their family and friends if they did not provide more revealing photographs.

The cases brought forward by the New Hanover County Superior Court involved Wilmington women who were 18 years old, according to District Attorney spokesperson Samantha Dooies. One case was investigated by the Wilmington Police Department while the other two were investigated by UNCW Police, Dooies said.

“Kerney posed online as a female modeling scout and solicited photographs in various states of dress and undress for potential modeling jobs,” according to a release from the DA’s Office Monday afternoon.

Kerney was previously convicted of cyberstalking and extortion in Guilford County involving different victims. Although he committed similar offenses in Montgomery and Alamance County, he was not charged for those offenses, according to Dooies.

“The defendant tricked the victims into feeling comfortable that they were dealing with a female who worked in the modeling industry,” Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan stated. “As soon as he obtained what he wanted, he attempted to force them to give him additional photographs or to be embarrassed. These young women were brave enough to come forward to make sure Mr. Kerney could not do this to anyone else.”

Kerney will serve between 13 and 25 months in prison for his three felony counts of extortion and three counts of cyberstalking. When released he will enter supervised probation for three years and will be required to undergo mental health examinations — including those specific to sexual offenders — while complying with all treatment recommendations.

“[H]e will have to abstain from social media, and he is ordered to have no contact with the witnesses or their families,” according to the release. “Should he violate the terms of his probation, Kerney faces an additional 26-50 months in prison.”


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