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Family: Indiana law fails to protect revenge porn victims

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — 13 Investigates a gap in Indiana law that could allow someone to post sexually explicit images of you or older teens without consent, and worse yet without prosecution. One 18-year old is speaking out in hopes of empowering more revenge porn victims and advocating for a change in state law.

It was a provocative photo similar to infamous cover shots of popular Hollywood stars on magazines: Topless women with strategically placed arms. But 18-year-old Colene Speckman never meant for her image to land on a porn site.

“You feel violated. You feel dirty,” she told 13 Investigates.

Colene’s photo was supposed to post to Snapchat and then quickly disappear.

“You don’t really think that anything is going to happen,” she said.

Nonconsensual disclosure of explicit photos

But in seconds, Colene says a rejected classmate snagged a screen shot that threatened to ruin her life.

Since freshman year, that classmate had asked her out. Each time she said ‘No.”

“After I said ‘No!” to him, he’s like ‘Oh by the way there’s this site of you, pictures of you.’ I was like ‘What pictures?’ and he shows me one of them.”

“Shocking!” said Colene’s mother Pam, who had heard of “revenge porn” before. She had no idea her daughter was at the center of a cyber attack until overhearing Colene on the phone.

“It’s not private! It’s out there. It becomes public,” said Pam Speckman referring to the apps that promise privacy.

Images of Indiana girls posted on porn site

“I just broke down in tears”

Once she saw the actual porn site where her daughter’s picture was posted, she couldn’t believe how many girls were impacted.

She isn’t sure how their pictures landed on the site, but she said she saw high school girls from across Indianapolis and the entire country posted like trading cards and categorized by school logos.

“Some of them were totally clothed except in a bathing suit,” she told 13 Investigates. “The picture of my daughter was not. She wasn’t naked, but it was provocative where she had her arm over her breast.”

“I didn’t want this happening,” said Colene in frustration. “I bet you these girls didn’t either.”

According to Colene, the classmate who told her about the porn site admitted to adding her image.

“I told him I was going to get the police involved and that’s when he finally let go and told me ‘I was the one who started it.’ I just broke down in tears,” Colene revealed.

The Speckman’s contacted Colene’s School. The school notified parents of the impacted girls and Indianapolis Police. But the Speckmans found Indiana’s laws on sexting and sextortion lacking when it comes to prosecuting nonconsensual disclosure of sexually explicit images.

Indiana’s sexting and sextortion laws don’t apply

“They basically get away with it and it’s not fair”

Indiana Federal Prosecutor Steve DeBrota tells 13 Investigates Indiana’s sexting laws don’t apply because it deals with individuals under 18 years old. Sextortion charges only apply if there is a threat of extortion or a demand involved.

Pam Speckman says county prosecutors believe those violated share some blame.

“The prosecutor believes the perpetrator is 50-percent guilty and the victim is 50-percent guilty,” she said.

According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative more than 30 states across the country have nonconsensual disclosure laws on the books. But not Indiana.

“They basically get away with it and it’s not fair,” said Colene.

“That’s what started me on the crusade,” added her mother.

Indiana lawmaker considering new legislation

“It’s just tragic when you hear these stories,” said State Senator Aaron Freeman, who represents Southeast Marion County and is a former deputy prosecutor.

Freeman told 13 Investigates Indiana’s disclosure laws are not where they need to be.

“I think we probably need to give prosecutors some additional tools and avenues to really prosecute people that are using these kinds of things without a woman or man’s consent. Posting something just to embarrass them,” explained Freeman.

He says the challenge is creating the right balance. He wants a law to help educate youth but make it tough enough to deter revenge porn.

“Do you criminalize it? Is it more of an educational piece?,” questions Freeman. “If somebody is doing it maliciously and they’re doing it in just some vindictive way, in my opinion that needs to be a crime.”

Breaking their silence

At first Colene and her mother suffered silently.

“You don’t dare tell anybody and I never felt so alone,” admitted Colene’s mother.

They decided to contact Senator Freeman and speak out in hopes of shifting power back to those violated.

“There is a way to you know like speak out. Talk to somebody,” added Colene. She credits her mother and friends for standing by her.

Even though Colene says her former classmate removed the thread on the porn site, she knows her image could show up somewhere else.

Now she wants other girls to understand that posting, even for just a few seconds, could risk a lifetime of privacy. All it takes is for someone to capture a screen shot of your image and use it without your consent for revenge.

“You don’t think anybody’s going to do this to you until it actually happens,” said Colene.

Senator Freeman is working with the Indiana Attorney General’s office to come up with proposed legislation.

Meanwhile Colene and her mother welcome others to join them in changing the law.

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Woman allegedly gets help from mom in twisted revenge porn scheme

This was the mother of all revenge porn plots.

A spiteful Texas woman hacked into her ex-boyfriend’s phone, and, with an assist from her mom, plastered racy photos of his ex-wife on Instagram, according to a local report.

Following a “bad break-up” last month, Adriana Luna, 26 — who local cops said was pregnant with her ex’s child — forced her ex to leave her home without his phone, according to an affidavit obtained by MySanAntonio.com.

She tried to log into the phone multiple times, and finally gained access on Aug. 8, posting explicit photos of her ex’s former wife to his Instagram account, according to the report.

When Luna’s ex confronted her, she admitted that she posted the photos — with some help from her mother, the outlet reported. She told a witness that she was determined to shame her ex’s former wife — who she blamed for her own break-up, the affidavit said.

Authorities arrested Luna Wednesday on suspicion of unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate material, a state felony, according to a police complaint report.

It’s unclear if Luna’s mom has been charged.

The victim told police she would often e-mail nude photos to her ex-husband while they were married.

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Lawyers insist Facebook searches for revenge porn | Ireland

A Northern Irish woman wants the company to search its entire network

An alleged victim of revenge porn is mounting a high court attempt in Belfast to compel Facebook to search for explicit photographs of her.

The tech and publishing company has already deleted “highly sexualised” images of the Northern Irish woman, which are said to have been sent to 25 users. Her lawyers now want those accounts to be checked to establish whether the pictures were forwarded.

The woman, who cannot be identified, claims that her former partner used Facebook’s private messaging service to share the photographs after they broke up.

Although she has ended her action against her ex-boyfriend, she is continuing to sue Facebook for breach of privacy and alleged failures in its system. She has said that her independence and dignity were undermined…

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Woman faces charges for hacking into ex’s phone, posting revenge porn on Instagram

by: Alex Thomas, Rare.us
Updated:

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman is in trouble after police say she broke into her ex’s phone and posted nude photos of his former lover online.

In August, a woman reported the photos to police, claiming that 26-year-old Adriana Luna posted the images on the man’s Instagram account.

Authorities said the man dated another woman before getting into a relationship with Luna. The woman before had, sent him the nude photos. According to an affidavit, Luna and the man had what a “bad breakup.”


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The San Antonio Express-News reported Luna kept her ex’s phone and broke into it, then posted the images.

When Luna’s ex-boyfriend confronted her about it, she allegedly admitted to the crime.

KABB reported that, according to an interview with the ex-boyfriend, Luna posted the photos with her mother’s help.

The ex-boyfriend said that she posted the photos because she wanted to shame the victim for the break-up, which she thinks is the other woman’s thought.

As these sorts of instances become more common, states have put so-called “revenge porn” laws in place that could mean hard time for offenders. Texas also has an online impersonation law that makes it illegal to post messages online while posing as another person. If Luna is indicted, prosecutors may decide to pursue that charge as well.

Luna was arrested on suspicion of unlawful disclosure of intimate material, which is a felony. KENS reported that Luna is currently out of jail on a personal recognizance bond.




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MN judge cracks down on ex-boyfriend’s ‘revenge porn’ case

Michael Weigel’s former partner woke up last December to a stunning email from her ex.

“You will never live in peace. You will live in shame and embarrassment for the rest of your life,” the email said, according to the excerpt the woman read in Ramsey County District Court on Tuesday.

Ramsey County sheriff’s office

Michael Weigel, 39

It went on to detail how Weigel had plastered naked pictures of her that the two took while they were still a couple on her new boyfriend’s Facebook page. The photos were attached in the email.

“I wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear,” the woman recounted for the court.

She spent weeks crying and panicking as she tried to navigate Facebook’s process for getting the photos removed.

She had to show the images to police officers so that criminal charges could be pursued. She worried the public exposure might cost her her job. Her new boyfriend’s family and friends, some of whom she hadn’t yet met, now had images of her naked body in their minds, she said.

“I will worry about these images for the rest of my life and live with the shame and embarrassment the rest of my life,” she said.

In that sense, Weigel got what he wanted, the woman said.

The 39-year-old Anoka man was the first person charged in Ramsey County under a new state law that took effect during the summer of 2016 that seeks to hold people accountable for so called “revenge porn.”

As such, his ex asked Ramsey County District Judge Stephen Smith to set a precedent with Weigel’s case — ignoring his request to avoid further jail time by sentencing him in accordance with the law.

Smith ultimately did.

He sentenced Weigel to about four months in jail and three years of supervised probation on one count of felony-level nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images.

Two additional counts of the same charge were dismissed.

His attorney, public defender John Reimer, said he believed Weigel was the first person sentenced under the new statute.

Weigel, who pleaded guilty to the charge in August, addressed the judge before receiving his sentence.

He said he relapsed on alcohol and had fallen into a deep depression after his relationship ended.

“I want to start by saying I am incredibly sorry. I have been through breakups before … but never in my life did I fall into the path that I fell into this time,” Weigel said. “I messed up. I messed up so bad and it affected so many people.”

He went on to call his former partner the “love of his life” and said he never meant to hurt her.

He added that he put himself through treatment and therapy and found a new job since he was charged.

The judge said he “appreciated” the actions Weigel has taken to turn his life around but said they couldn’t undo the impact he has had on his ex.

He also questioned Weigel’s statement that he hadn’t meant to cause harm.

“I have a hard time seeing it any other way,” Smith said.

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After pleading guilty to posting ‘revenge porn,’ P.A. man faces $30,500 court order

Saskatchewan Provincial Court in Prince Albert. Herald File Photo

A judge ordered a local man to pay $30,500 to his ex-girlfriend, as restitution for posting nude photos of her on the internet.

The 25-year-old man, who cannot be named for fear of identifying the victim, pleaded guilty to publishing intimate images without consent. He appeared in Prince Albert’s provincial courthouse on Monday, where Judge Matsalla also sentenced him to two years probation.

“The effect on the complainant is profound,” Matsalla said. “In this case the harm will be ongoing and may continue for a long period of time.”

He said he was convinced that the photos were posted out of “revenge.”

The man and the victim were both 18 years old, and dating, when he took 10 intimate photos of her. They broke up months later, and he posted the photos online. They soon spread to a number of websites.

Even his defence lawyer, Mary McAuley, said he posted the photos out of vindictiveness and anger after a “bad break up.” She said he was intoxicated when he committed the crime.

The victim was first alerted to the publication of the images years later, when men began soliciting her for sex through online messaging. She found out that she had been identified, by name and location, on the sites hosting the photos.

She has since taken steps to remove them, Crown prosecutor Shawn Blackman told the court. The process is extremely difficult and expensive. She wants to hire a firm that specializes in the removal of “revenge porn,” and got a $30,500 quote for their services.

The Crown and the defence agreed to recommend a restitution order, obliging the man to pay that sum. They only disagreed over the specific terms of his probation. Blackman sought to prohibit the man from using a computer, a smartphone or any device with internet access.

McAuley said that would make it almost impossible for the man to find a job.

The lawyers argued at length about whether the man was remorseful, and appreciated the impact his actions had on his ex-girlfriend. In a victim impact statement, the woman spoke of the consequences the images have had for her relationship with her parents, her professional prospects and her romantic life.

“The internet never forgets,” Blackman said. “As a result of that, the complainant faces a potential violation of her privacy rights by strangers in perpetuity.”

But in a pre-sentence report prepared for the court, the man seemed to view the whole matter as an “overreaction.” According to Blackman, the man “feels the offences are stupid because they happened in the past.” He said the man came across as “very cold and uncaring.”

“The charges were an overreaction on the part of the victim and the justice system,” the man indicated, according to Blackman’s reading of the report.

McAuley disagreed. She admitted that the publication “was retaliatory; it was vindictive.” But she said he was so intoxicated, and the events were so far in the past, that he barely remembered posting the images when he was charged.

“He in no way is disrespectful to women,” she said. “He is struggling with this… He has been going through a lot of depression.”

The Crown also pointed out that the man was rated in the “high” range to reoffend sexually. But McAuley said that made him out to be some sort of “deviant.” She said he isn’t a long-term sexual offender, and argued against the internet provisions the Crown was seeking.

“If it was somebody that was in their home uploading child porn on a daily basis, all the time, I could see that – get the computer away from him,” she said. “But here we have one isolated opportunistic crime that has major ramifications for the complainant.

“We have to help him so he can get that job,” she continued. “If he can’t pay this, how do we get those images down?”

The judge ultimately chose to restrict the man’s internet, computer and smartphone use during his probation. But he allowed for a probation officer to relax the condition in order to allow the man to look for employment or pursue education. He also imposed a clause to keep the man away from the victim, and to forbid him from possessing drugs, alcohol or firearms.

Blackman said that the case was one of the first to come up in Saskatchewan under the sharing intimate images law. He drew parallels with the cases of Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd, young women who committed suicide because of cyberbullying.

The man spoke to the Herald briefly as he walked through the parking lot, away from the courthouse. He took issue with the Crown’s argument that he never showed remorse.

“She didn’t deserve that,” he said. “I feel awful.”

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West Midlands revenge porn cases double

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the number of offences increased to 105 last year, up from 55 in 2015.

So far this year 73 offences have been reported.

Wolverhampton Liberal Democrat campaigner Rob Quarmby said: “I don’t want to see, as I do sometimes, a child’s first conversation about the meaning of consent being in a police interview room.

“I have a daughter and the thought that something like this can happen to her horrifies me?”

Revenge porn is the distribution of a private sexual image of someone without their consent, with the aim of causing distress.

It is a phenomenon that has swept the country, with teenagers and young adults taking and sharing naked photographs on smartphones.

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Reasonable Doubt: Emerging civil remedies for revenge porn

I’ve grown up with the Internet for most of my life. I’m old enough to remember when the it was only a few websites and there was almost no real content. The possibilities, however, were endless. There was this feeling that we all knew that we were participating in something revolutionary that would change the world and how we would view it.

With time, and with more and more people accessing it, the Internet began to change. This most recent fundamental change, dubbed Web 2.0, was heralded as the “Great Equalizer” that would bring peoples of all walks of life together.

The Internet, as it turns out, is only as good as the people who use it. For most, the Internet is simply a tool for communication and to absorb media. People use it to find the best restaurant in town, to post their favourite photo on Instagram, or to share cat memes. Depending on your view of cats and people who post photos of food, this is generally benign.

The Internet’s dark side

There is, however, a darker side to the Internet. It’s a place where people can betray your trust. They use the Internet as a weapon to bully, shame, and victimize people who have shared intimate moments with those who were not deserving of their trust. Given how vast and integrated the Internet now is in our lives, the damage can rarely be undone.

Both the courts and governments across the country have worked to find a way to mete out justice, in one form or another, against those who have publicly disclosed intimate and private videos and photos without the consent of those depicted. Manitoba, for example, introduced The Intimate Image Protection Act, which was designed to deal with sharing such images without consent. Nova Scotia brought in the Cyber-safety Act, but this was struck down by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court as being unconstitutional.

British Columbia, however, has the Privacy Act, which provides that it is a tort for a person willfully and without a claim of right to violate the privacy of another. The circumstances and expectations of one’s privacy is to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and the court would need to consider the “nature, incidence, and occasion of the actor conduct and to any domestic or other relationship between the parties”.

First civil case in Ontario

The first reported case in Canada to deal with revenge porn in a civil context was in Ontario, Jane Doe 464533 v. N.D., which was released in 2016. The plaintiff in that case brought a lawsuit after her ex-boyfriend posted an intimate video of her online to a pornographic website and also shared it with her friends, despite having promised to never share it with anyone. Justice Stinson found that the defendant had breached the plaintiff’s confidence by sharing a video which had “the necessary quality of confidence about it”.

Stinson also found that the defendant had committed the tort of intentional infliction of mental distress and invaded the plaintiff’s privacy by publicizing or publishing the private life of another where it would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and not of legitimate concern to the public. The judge awarded the plaintiff $100,000 plus costs, which included $25,000 in punitive damages.

B.C. case involved videotaping

T.K.L. v. T.M.P. was a case where the plaintiff sued her stepfather for secretly observing and video-recording the plaintiff while she was undressed in the bathroom and bedroom. Part of her lawsuit was that her stepfather had violated the B.C. Privacy Act and a fiduciary duty he owed her. Justice Thompson found that the plaintiff’s stepfather’s spying and videotaping violated the Privacy Act and breached his fiduciary duty.

The videotaping occurred on four occasions in 2011 while the plaintiff was between the ages of 20 and 21. He took video of her while she was in the shower and while she was in her bedroom, changing. The defendant admitted he took these videos, in part to humiliate her and get revenge.

Thompson found that the stepfather violated Subsection 1(1) of the Privacy Act when a person willfully and without a claim of right violates the privacy of another. The plaintiff was able to show in this case that her stepfather’s actions caused her psychological harm. She had become quiet, withdrawn, and fearful after the video-recording incidents, and only by the time of trial had she slowly started to become who she was again. The plaintiff had physical symptoms as well—including losing 20 percent of her body weight and scratching her arms with pins—and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and depression.

The judge awarded the plaintiff $85,000 in general damages, which included $25,000 in aggravated damages.

Precedents set in both cases

Both of these cases are notable because of their rarity and the amount that was awarded in damages. These cases are not typical. The reality is that most cases are unlikely to ever net such a large award from the court. Each case is also fact-specific, and the court will assess each case on its merits.

There can also be procedural issues that may get in the way. In Jane Doe 464533, a recent decision by the Ontario courts has overturned the summary-judgment decision and is allowing the defendant to mount a defence in that case. As such, it will be important to watch and see how that case develops in the future.

What is important about both of these decisions, however, is the precedent they set. The court has laid the framework for future cases to build on. T.K.L. is particularly important to British Columbians because it shows that the language of the Privacy Act can be used toward video recordings even when they are not shared with the public.

A word of caution: you should not act or rely on the information provided in this column. It is not legal advice. To ensure your interests are protected, retain or formally seek advice from a lawyer.

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Anoka Man Gets 4 Months in Revenge Porn Case

Weigel was sentenced Tuesday to 120 days in the Ramsey County Correctional Facility with credit for 56 days served. If he’s deemed eligible, he could serve the sentence as work release. Weigel was also placed on three years’ probation.

According to the criminal complaint, Weigel allegedly created the fake account in December of last year and sent friend requests to all the boyfriend’s Facebook friends – a group which included many of his ex’s family and friends.

The page also allegedly contained multiple written criticisms of the two, including blaming the boyfriend for breaking up Weigel and his ex’s relationship. He also allegedly posted a message naming his ex’s place of employment, and reportedly stated she was not suitable to work there.

According to the complaint, Weigel told investigators, “I wanted one chance to let everyone know what they did. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone for monetary gain.”

In August, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Weigel was the first person charged in Ramsey County under Minnesota’s new “revenge porn” law, which took effect in August 2016. The intent of the law is to punish those who publicize private sexual images of another.

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Revenge porn prevalance indicates legislative failures

An article about the website Anon-IB recently garnered national attention when dozens of male Marines posted nude photographs of their female colleagues. Anon-IB—short for Anonymous Image Board—is one of many “revenge porn” websites that encourage users to post explicit photos of their exes, without the exes’ consent.

Anon-IB receives 50,000 individual visitors each day and its page views can average 170,000, according to the New York Post. The site’s categories include “drunk/passed out,” “peeping toms” and “up-the-skirt” photos. Some material depicts molestation and rape, with many of the girls pictured below the age of 18. Users can post teenage girls’ pictures, as long as the tag does not contain their age, according to the New York Post.

Revenge porn epitomizes the failure of legislators and policymaking to catch up with the rapid progression of technology. Georgia resident Brandon Lee Gary, for example, had been convicted for taking up-the-skirt photos of women while they shopped. A judge threw out the ruling, however, after it was discovered how far behind the times Georgia’s invasion of privacy laws were, according CBS News. The law did not cover actions in public spaces, like stores.

Aware of this loophole, some states have created voyeurism statutes that make such behavior illegal. As of this year, legislation to prevent revenge porn has passed in 38 states and the District of Columbia, according to FindLaw.

California Rep. Jackie Speier hopes to protect all 50 states with a bill that would be enforced at a federal level. Speier’s Intimate Privacy Protection Act of 2016 specifically targets revenge porn and explicit images taken without consent.

The bill would amend Chapter 88 of Title XVIII, which defines and prohibits recorded voyeurism. Created back in 2004, this title prohibits the filming or documenting of “a private area of the individual,” according to section 1801.

The addition of the Intimate Privacy Protection Act would specifically address distribution of those images and the lack of consent. It is a way that legislation could begin catching up to the ever-dwindling digital privacy of citizens in the modern era. The bill, however, is still being debated by the House of Representatives.

Numerous grassroots movements have recently started up in the hopes of shutting down revenge porn sites and raising awareness. Activist Alex Edwards, for instance, began a petition on Change.org that has gained over 9,000 supporters since it was started in 2012. Edwards is calling on the FBI to begin an investigation that combats Anon-IB and its distribution of child pornography.

Until legislation passes, these grassroots efforts appear to be the best recourse against revenge porn that the U.S. has.u

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