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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Teen boys increasingly targeted in 'sextortion' crimes, FBI warns

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024   

January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and the FBI
says financially motivated sextortion - often targeting teen boys - went up 20% from October 2022 to March 2023. Scammers will pose as an attractive girl on social media or gaming sites, ask the boy to send nude photos or videos, then threaten to post them online if the victim doesn't pay up.
Curtis Cox, a Special Agent with the FBI, said the threats often cause extreme mental anguish.

"That fear of being exposed that way causes these kids to panic, sometimes they attempt to make the payments, which is a big mistake. It doesn't solve the problem. It only exacerbates it. And unfortunately, oftentimes we see this anxiety lead to self-harm or thoughts of suicide," he explained.

The FBI says between October 2021 and March 2023, the feds got more than 13,000 reports of online financial sextortion of minors, involving more than 12,600 victims, which the agency said contributed to at least 20 suicides.

Cox asks parents to discuss "sextortion" with their kids - and show compassion if their child has fallen prey.

"These kids are victim of very sophisticated criminals who know exactly what to say and what to do to get what they want. If your kid does report this to you, don't judge. Don't be angry. Look at them as a victim and help them get the help and the resources that they need to get through this," he said.

Victims can report the crime at 1-800-CALL-F-B-I or online at 'tips.fbi.gov.'


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