A detective with the Island County Sheriff’s Office uncovered evidence that a former Island County man has been blackmailing girls and women across the country into providing him nude photos and sexual favors by threatening to post embarrassing images of them online, according to court documents.
Police plan on arresting 29-year-old Gabriel A. Shiver at a home in Tacoma today on a $50,000 arrest warrant out of Island County Superior Court.
Prosecutors charged him on Jan. 8 with six counts of extortion in the second degree with sexual motivation, one count of possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the second degree and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
If convicted of the charges, Shiver could face up to seven years in prison under the standard sentencing range.
Shiver approached the victims online, usually through Facebook; he researched the “targets” and looked for women who appeared vulnerable, according to the sheriff’s office.
Shiver obtained potentially embarrassing images from the girls and women through the course of their interactions, then used the threat to “publicly disclose photographs and videos of these victims in order to coerce further sexual favors and ultimately control the victim’s lives,” according to motion for a search warrant. In many cases, the “sexual favors” involved online video chat in which he directed them to do sexual acts.
Two of the victims were children at the time of the offenses.
“Shiver’s collection of coerced images and videos includes images of minors, and it includes images and videos of victims engaging in acts which were intended by Shiver to debase those victims and to cause acute shame,” the motion for a search warrant states.
The detective’s report describes escalating threats and demands in online conversations between Shiver and his victims. The report details one video of extreme degradation in which the woman is visibly sobbing.
The current charges relate to six victims, but the sheriff’s office is working to identify more women from information obtained through warrants served on Facebook and Shiver’s computers. Law enforcement seized Shiver’s numerous computer and electronic devices when serving a search warrant at his residence in November 2019.
Court documents indicate that less than a month after the search warrant was issued, Shiver obtained another device and communicated with one of his victims.
The detective started investigating Shiver last May after a woman came forward and reported being extorted by an unknown person on Facebook.