We've heard of internet predators but not quite like this. A Texas A & M communications professor killed himself after allegedly falling victim to a man accused of running an unusual scam on-line. Texas A & M professor Dr. James Aune plunged to his death in January 2013 after he jumped from the roof of a parking garage on campus. Prosecutors say a con man in Louisiana was using his own daughter to meet men on-line. Then that dad would allegedly contact the men demanding money for "counseling" for his daughter.
Aune was allegedly carrying on a sexually explicit relationship with the young girl who called herself Karen on-line. According to an affidavit, in December 2012 Dr. Aune was contacted by Daniel Duplaisir who pretended to be Karen's irate dad. The document says Duplaisir sent an email to Aune telling him "Never talk to my child again. Not only did you send a picture of your penis to a known minor, you came in with your disgusting old *** talking about making my underage child your wife".
Prosecutors say Duplaisir was demanding $5,000 from Aune, claiming his daughter Karen was a teen transgender who now needed even more counseling that Aune was responsible for paying. Here's a text message Duplaisir allegedly sent Aune "If I do not hear from you I swear the police, your place of employment, students, all over the internet, all of them will see your conversations, texts, pictures you sent".
"He was trying to extort money from the victim and the threats were to ruin his reputation by reporting some alleged acts that the victim did to A&M and the police," says Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe.
Aune supposedly payed Duplaisir more than $1500 and allegedly sent this email to Karen "I am **** scared about this and can't figure out how to come up with more money".
On January 8, 2012 Duplaisir supposedly sent this message to Dr. Aune "You should check your comments on (a rate your professor website)". Sure enough on that website the last comment posted on the morning of January 8, 2013 listed Dr. Aune's "pros" as "Taught Karen so much". Thirty minutes later Aune texted back to Duplaisir "Killing myself now and you will be prosecuted for black mail". There at Texas A & M the professor jumped to his death.
Dr. Aune's wife says he told her in December 2012 someone was extorting money from him. Duplaisir is charged with extortion.
In 2011 Duplaisir was arrested in Louisiana charged with aggravated incest and oral sexual battery for allegedly hurting his own daughter. His daughter, who's name is not Karen by the way, told investigators her dad would take nude pictures and videos of her and use them to scam men on-line, telling them she now needed counseling. She says all of the men sent the money.
The trial for Duplaisir, who pleaded not guilty to extortion charges today, is expected to get underway May 28, 2013 in federal court in Houston.