A 27-year-old Kauai man who allegedly posed as a photographer online to lure women and teens and force them into having sex with him was scheduled to make his initial appearance tomorrow in Kauai District Court.
Leonard Alpeche Jr., of Kapaa, has been charged with first- and third-degree sexual assault, kidnapping, and 10 counts of extortion. He was being held at Kauai Community Correctional Center on $465,000 bail.
He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the 13 counts on Tuesday, said Kauai County Deputy Prosecutor Jake Delaplane.
Alpeche has been charged in connection with the sexual assault of one victim, a 24-year-old Princeville woman, who told authorities Alpeche forced her to have sex by threatening to release nude photos of her in October.
Alpeche allegedly lured the females by offering modeling opportunities for large sums of money for an exclusive underground modeling agency that caters to wealthy people who want to remain anonymous.
Police said the known victims are female Kauai residents, ranging in age from 13 to 27 years old. Alpeche allegedly developed relationships with the females online and used several aliases.
Police would not say if charges involving other victims were forthcoming.
According to charging documents, Alpeche used similar methods of coercion involving at least six victims, dating as far back as 2006 and including a 2008 case where he possibly impregnated a victim.
The victim in the October incident said she entered an agreement with a person she met on Facebook for a modeling session, the court document said.
She told police that she met a person on Facebook named Natalya Acob, who introduced her to another person only named Erin — the supposed contact for the modeling agency.
The woman was then directed through Facebook and text messages to send photos of herself in a bikini and nude. She complied and was told to meet a photographer at Lihue Ball Park for her first modeling shoot.
On Oct. 27, the woman went to the park and met a man wearing a white scarf over his face who said he was the photographer.
After taking nude photos of the woman, the man said she would have to perform sex acts with him or he would release the photos to her family and friends, the documents said. He also threatened her family.
The man had sex with the woman in the bathroom of the ballpark.
In some cases, the victims were told to submit more nude photos, find another model to replace them, or submit to sex acts.
Police tracked down the addresses of two e-mail accounts Alpeche allegedly used to threaten the woman. Detectives found the Internet Protocol addresses belonged to his sister’s home in Lihue and an unsecured wireless router near Alpeche’s Kapaa home.
Police arrested Alpeche last week Wednesday. Court documents said when informed of the charges, Alpeche’s only comment was, "who’s the victim?"