On July 27, 2022, Elijah Alan Thomas, 23, of Chester County, was sentenced to seven years of probation and ordered to undergo a mandatory psychosexual evaluation for the sexual extortion, stalking, and unlawful dissemination of intimate images of an Upper Merion woman. Judge Wendy G. Rothstein accepted the plea agreement in the case and ordered Thomas to follow all treatment recommendations. Thomas is prohibited from contacting the woman that he extorted.
According to court documents, Thomas met his victim on Facebook in May of 2020, and the two began to exchange messages. They met in-person on May 29, 2020, and engaged in a one-time sexual encounter, after which the victim contacted Thomas and told him that she did not want to continue their romantic relationship.
Then, in early June of 2020, Thomas began to send the woman, what she classified as a “seemingly endless stream of text messages and phone calls” using various fake phone numbers. Thomas also messaged the victim through TikTok. His messages included threats of physically harming her, her family, her property, and her reputation.
Thomas even sent several messages, which linked to a video he took of the two having sex. He threatened to send the video to her parents and her TikTok followers. The victim was unaware of and did not consent to a video being made. Thomas then promised he would delete the video if she saw him again and they engaged in another sexual encounter.
The Court issued summons for Thomas on July 7, 2020. Thomas was also charged with terroristic threats, stalking, invasion of privacy, and recklessly endangering another person. However, as a part of Thomas’s plea deal, these charges were dropped.
The CSE Institute commends the Upper Merion Township Police Department for their diligent investigation of Thomas’s crimes, as well as the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office for working to ensure individuals who sexually exploit others will be held accountable. More importantly, the CSE Institute commends the bravery of the victim who reported Thomas’s conduct to police. After all, it is without a doubt that survivor voices will be the ones to promulgate change in the sex trafficking narrative.
All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.