TODAY

TODAY   |  September 27, 2013

Miss Teen USA: ‘Mixed emotions’ on arrest of blackmail suspect

The standing Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf tells TODAY that she has mixed feelings about the news about an arrest regarding the spying and blackmailing of her, that while she is happy to put a face with the anonymous emails, the fact that the suspect went to her high school is “sad.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> we'll begin this half hour with rossen reports new developments in a case we first broke. a criminal hacking into miss teen usa 's webcam. today jeff rossen has the latest on this. good morning to you.

>> good morning. this is about as creepy as it gets. authority sas this man was spying on miss teen usa inside the privacy of her own bedroom. he broke into her computer, remotely turned on her webcam and watched her most intimate moments. that's when he tried to blackmail her. this morning, the fbi has moved in with an arrest.

>>> you are the new miss teen usa 2013 .

>> reporter: it was an amazing public moment for cassidy wolf crowned miss teen usa .

>> congratulations.

>> reporter: but it was in her private moments at home where she says she was violated. someone hacked into her computer webcam and without her even knowing it took naked photos of her.

>> me computer never came on so i wasn't aware. this person had been taking picture of me in my room changing clothes, putting on outfits, walking back and forth from the shower.

>> how did you find out?

>> i received an anonymous e-mail from a person extorting me and blackmailing me. he attached nude photos of me he had taken in my bedroom.

>> if you don't do what i say i'm releasing these publicly?

>> correct.

>> reporter: cassidy was mort mortified and called the cops. now they arrested her former high school classmate, jared abrahams . now he is a college student studying computer science . he appeared in federal court charged with extortion.

>> there were multiple victims. in the state of california , throughout the united states and even internationally. some were as young as 16 years old.

>> according to the criminal complaint abrahams confessed to investigators who found evidence of hacking software along with images and videos of the victims on his computer and cell phone. abrahams has mental health issues.

>> the family wants to apologize for the consequences of his behavior and the families that were effected.

>> reporter: the fbi says webcam hacking is a growing problem. cassidy hopes her case will be a wake up call for all of us.

>> this happened to me when i was a normal girl in high school . it can happen to anybody.

>> this morning, the accused hacker, jared abrahams is out on $50,000 bail. he is only allowed to leave for church, school, attorney visits and doctors appointments but he is not allowed to use the internet at all.

>> that makes sense. we're joined now by cassidy wolf, miss teen usa . good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> i watched your reaction when we showed the shot of the person walking, the alleged prep traitor. you said it was hard for you to watch that.

>> it's weird for me to be able to put a face to a person that did this to me and to know that it's somebody i went to high school with, it's weird and it makes me -- it is mixed emotions honestly.

>> what are you going through? because i imagine on one hand you're relieved that you know who it is and they can't do it again.

>> i'm very relieved and i'm glad they could find who the person is but it was somebody that i went to high school with and he was young and my age and i think it's bad that he chose to do this and has now put himself in this big dilemma. it's mixed emotions .

>> you told our producer you almost kind of felt sorry for him?

>> i do. i don't think he realizes the consequences for what he has done and the people he hurt. he terrorized me and many girls for so long and i just think now it's coming to real life for me as well that this person did this to me.

>> he was your high school classmate but do you remember him? did you go to a big high school ? is this somebody you remember having interactions with?

>> i never had interactions with him. i went to a very long high school . i knew of him and his name but i never talked to him. i saw him in the hallways.

>> do your friends remember him? are they saying that they do?

>> not so much but we knew of his name, so.

>> one thing that you're doing because you have this platform as miss teen usa is telling other people that might be in a similar position to speak out. what is your message to them?

>> to tell somebody because i know some of the girls that were involved in the case didn't have the opportunity to talk to law enforcement and to get help. so it makes me feel really good that i was able to, you know, help them out as well as other people that could be going through the same thing.

>> and now you have this amazing platform to send this message. congratulations again on your title. that's the good news here.

>> yes.

>> good to see you.