Corporal Johao Miguel Chavarri, a 25-year-old Camp Pendleton-based Marine, has been charged with cyberstalking and harassing young women after he demanded sexual photos and videos online in a sextortion scandal. If the girls did not comply with his wishes, Chavarri would threaten them, effectively coercing them to send these nude and sexually explicit photographs and videos.
Chavarri, a Torrance, California native, had allegedly harassed and coerced 11 young women (who were also from his hometown in Torrance) online using the online alias “Michael Frito” as well as other multiple accounts. These women were previous friends and acquaintances of Chavarri whom he met while growing up through a chain of networks such as family members and friends in school throughout his stay at various high schools and his time at El Camino College. He allegedly created these accounts to stalk different women and blackmail them into giving him these sexual photos from 2019 to 2021, according to a complaint filed in a Los Angeles Federal Court.
Johao Miguel Chavarri, who enlisted in the Marines in 2018, was assigned to repair duties on Camp Pendleton, is a married individual currently serving under the 1st Marine Division. He was taken into custody by the FBI after he had been investigated by the federal authorities and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
According to investigators, Chavarri would make accounts under the “Michael Frito” alias through social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat. He would then start an interaction by messaging them through direct message and proceeding to “hit them up” by complimenting their physical appearance. After a series of back and forth messages, Chavarri would then turn the conversation into something more sexual in nature, requesting the young girls to send the Marine photos of their feet and other sensitive private areas of the body. In some cases, Chavarri would offer to pay for these photos and videos, often through Snapchat, where photos and videos cannot be saved. The user can be notified when another user screenshots their posts. However, a screen recording would bypass this alert system, making the notification obsolete.
The women would often send photos at first. However, when they refused to send more continually, Chavarri would become aggressive and blackmail the young women. Specifically, the Marine would threaten to post the nude photos and videos he had gained before from the girls, making them publicly available on free pornographic sites such as Pornhub or send them to the young women’s family, friends, and colleagues. Thus, the women would send more nude photos so that Chavarri would be appeased and would calm down. However, this led to a cycle that the women could no longer break out of, to which they filed a complaint later on to save themselves.
According to a report done by The Chicago Tribune, the young Marine threatened one of the young girls, stating, “I have found your family on Facebook, and I have a picture of all your followers. I even found your ex-boyfriend. Please don’t test me. I will send everything.”
In another threatening message, Chavarri said to one of his victims that he would spend his whole life ruining their lives while using fake social media accounts. Some used the young girl’s real names to send messages to their personal friends and family members. This would also scare the girls into sending more nude and sexual content to Chavarri. In addition to his threats, he would also claim that his gadgets were untraceable and he had been using burner phones to further protect his digital footprint.
It is unknown if the Marine had posted the illegally acquired nudes and sexual content. However, the trauma he had left with his victims left the young girls experiencing several mental disorders and illnesses, including anxiety, panic attacks, and no longer wanting to use social media and leaving their house out of fear for their own safety.
After being taken into custody, Johao Miguel Chavarri was subsequently released on a $30,000 bond. The United States Marine Corps, through a statement released by 2nd Lt. Ramarro Lamar, stated that the 1st Marine Division is closely monitoring the situation and his case. He further added that the Marines are committed to seeing justice through and will be cooperating with the authorities regarding Chavarri’s case.
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