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Man faces extortion charges

Published Nov. 9, 1999|Updated Sep. 30, 2005

A Tampa deacon is under house arrest after investigators say he tried to get a friend of his daughter's to engage in cybersex.

A 51-year-old church deacon faces federal extortion charges, after investigators say he sent a sexually explicit e-mail to a 16-year-old classmate of his daughter.

A federal judge Monday set bail at $150,000 for Robert Alexander and ordered him held under house arrest and electronic monitoring. Prosecutors, who argued that Alexander should be held without bail, said they planned to appeal the decision.

Alexander, of 2901 Aquila St., was arrested Friday at a Hillsborough County library. Investigators said they found him sitting at a computer terminal looking at several type-written pages titled "Victims List."

The list, investigators said, contained between 50 and 70 e-mail addresses of young women all over the country whom Alexander planned to target.

Investigators said they learned of Alexander's conduct when the 16-year-old's family notified police that he had telephoned the girl twice and demanded that she engage in a lewd conversation with him.

Investigators said Alexander gave the girl an e-mail address of LJR445yahoo.com and directed her to respond. If she did not comply, investigators said, he threatened to paste images of her face on photographs of people engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

An FBI agent responded to the e-mail Wednesday and received a reply Friday in which Alexander threatened to besmirch the girl's reputation if she did not participate in cybersex with him, investigators said.

Surveillance was established at the Peninsula branch library and investigators said Friday they observed Alexander working at a computer with the Yahoo mail account "LJR445" visible on the screen.

Investigators say the 16-year-old was a classmate of his daughter's at Plant High School and is a member of the basketball team at the First Baptist Church of Tampa where Alexander attends.

In court Monday, Alexander told U.S. Magistrate Mary Scriven that he had been diagnosed as manic depressive and had prescribed medication, which he was not taking.

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