Online Sex Scam Led to Texas A&M Instructor's Suicide

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A Louisiana man is accused of using his underage relative to lure a Texas A&M University professor into a sexually explicit online relationship that ended with blackmail demands and the professor leaping to his death from a campus parking garage.

The charges, filed in Houston, clear up some of the mystery surrounding why James Arnt Aune, 59, who chaired the school's Department of Communications, committed suicide on Jan. 8.

Daniel Timothy Duplaisir is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Tuesday on a charge of using a phone and the Internet to extort money from Aune.

Duplaisir, 37, was charged in 2011 with aggravated incest and oral sexual battery for allegedly abusing a female relative, who is not being named by the Chronicle.

The girl apparently told authorities that Duplaisir took nude photos and videos of her to use in the scam, and kept a list with the names and numbers of men being extorted, according to an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Nikki Allen.

The girl, whose age is not specified in court filings, said she and Duplaisir created a site on, according to the FBI.

She used a fake name, and e-mail address to meet men, get their phone numbers, and send them pictures and video.

Duplaisir would then follow up, by calling as an outraged father and demanding payment to cover the cost of counseling for his daughter.

In his exchanges with the professor, Duplaisir claimed his daughter was especially vulnerable because she was transgender and he needed the money to pay for therapy.

"It is very hard to help a teenage trans-gender child be accepted in life; to help her find a life worth living," said one of text messages Duplaisir allegedly sent to Aune. "And you came in with your disgusting (talking)."

The texts from Duplaisir to Aune were often laced with obscenity and threats.

"If I do not hear from you I swear to Gold Almighty that the police in your place of employment, students ALL OVER THE INTERNET ... ALL OF THEM will be able to see your conversations, text , pictures you sent," states another text. It continues: "And if by some miracle you get away with this I will use every chance I get to make sure every place or person associated with you knows and see what you have done. Last chance, you better make the right move."

Aune, according to the FBI affidavit, confessed to his wife in mid December that he was being blackmailed as the result of an online sexual relationship with a minor.

Duplaisir was indicted last week.

On the morning of January 8th, at 9:21 a.m. Duplaisir allegedly gave Aune three hours to come up with the money or "the calls start."

At 10:29 a.m. Aune replied: "Killing myself now. And u will be prosecuted for blackmail."

At 10:30, according to the FBI affidavit, he jumped to his death.

Aune's widow could not be reached for comment. Texas A&M University had no immediate reaction to the charges.

Professor James Aune jumped to his death from the Texas A&M Northside Parking Garage on Jan. 8th. An FBI affidavit says Aune was tormented for weeks before jumping to his death.
Daniel Duplaisir, 37, arrested on a charge of using a phone and the Internet to blackmail Aune.