Kyle Gaumnitz Convicted of Extortion with Sexual Motivation
COLFAX, WA - Kyle William Gaumnitz, 24 of Richland, Washington and a former student of both WSU and the University of Idaho, was found guilty in the Whitman County Superior Court and sentenced on Friday, October 4, 2019 for one count of Extortion in the Second Degree with Sexual Motivation, and four additional counts of Extortion in the Second Degree. The convictions are based on an extensive investigation by the Washinton State University Police Department, which uncovered many different women who were extorted or attempted to be extorted by Gaumnitz. The investigation uncovered years of systematic and complex efforts by Gaumnitz to harass many different women from his own social circles as well as complete strangers. The investigation overlapped and connected Gaumnitz to independent investigations by police departments around the state of Washington, including the Pullman Police Department. Gaumnitz would often obtain, or prentend to have obtained, nude photos of women, and try to get them to send nude photos or perform sex acts online in order to avoid him releasing their supposed nude photos to friends and family members on their social networks.
Many of these women were terrified and frightened even when they knew there were no images of them available to be revealed. He sometimes threatened them with physical harm, and often threatened them with "ruining their lives." Gaumnitz tried to hide his activity by using the identities of men he knew from work or his various schools and by using prepaid or internet phone numbers. However, WSU PD officers were still able to track these various identities and numbers back to Gaumnitz, and a search of his computer revealed a list of women who had either gone unreported or unsolved. Many of them knew Gaumnitz as a former boyfriend, co-worker, friend of a friend etc.
Gaumitz was sentenced to 28 months in prison and three years of supervision after he is released. He will have to register as a sex offender. Several victims of his crimes provided victim impact statements which were provided to the court.
The prosecution of the case was handled by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dan LeBeau and Senior Deputy Prosecutor Tessa Scholl.