Investigators: Blackmailed professor commits suicide

Published On: Mar 25 2013 10:30:32 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 26 2013 03:38:39 PM CDT
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -

A Texas A&M professor committed suicide because he was being blackmailed, investigators said.

The suicide of professor James Aune came as a shock to students and staff at Texas A&M University.

Aune, head of the communications department, jumped from a campus parking garage to his death.

FBI agents said they believe a sexual blackmail scheme concocted by another man may be at the root of the death.

Court records claim Daniel Duplaisir put photos of his own relative, an underage girl, on a social networking sight to lure Aune.

The documents allege Aune started exchanging messages and explicit photos with someone he thought was the girl.

Investigators said Duplaisir then called the professor pretending to be a father angry that Aune was involved with his daughter.

Records allege Duplaisir demanded cash from Aune, saying he needed it to get therapy for the girl, who he claimed was also a transgender.

Investigators said Duplaisir sent Aune an email, threatening him. According to investigators, the email read, "If I don't hear from you, I swear to God almighty that the police, your place of employment, students all over the Internet, all of them, will be able to see your conversation, texts, pictures you sent."

Investigators said Aune sent a text back. In it, he said, "Killing myself now. And U will be prosecuted for black mail."

Mintues later, Aune leaped from the parking garage, authorities said.

Duplaisir is in jail and faces felony charges for threatening communications. He appeared in court on Tuesday, pleaded not guilty and a judge set his trial to begin on May 28. He will have a court-appointed attorney.