Tuscaloosa Police Charge “Serial Predator” with Sexual Extortion
A 22-year-old accused in an online petition of serial harassment of women on college campuses has been arrested and charged with sexual extortion, police said Thursday morning.
Lt. Darren Beams, the commander of the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force, said this case opened when multiple victims in the Tuscaloosa area filed reports against 22-year-old Austin J. Brown.
In a petition circulating on Twitter and other social media, alleged victims claimed that Brown is "a serial predator" who harassed women on least three college campuses before he arrived in Tuscaloosa earlier this year.
The petition, which calls for Brown's arrest, has more than 11,000 signatures.
Beams said the exact details of Brown's case are "very sensitive" and would not be disclosed publicly at this time, but said Brown has been charged with two counts of felony sexual extortion and two counts of misdemeanor harassing communications.
He was booked in the Tuscaloosa County Jail Wednesday on a combined bond of $31,500, and has since been released on bond, though Beams said investigators expect to file more charges against Brown as they dig deeper into these cases.
Beams also asked that any other potential victims from the Tuscaloosa area come forward and contact police. The West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force can be reached at (205) 248-4750 and the University of Alabama Police Department can be contacted at (205) 348-5454.
A spokesperson for the University of Alabama said Thursday morning that Brown is not and has never been enrolled as a student at UA.