Revenge porn website operator claims ‘free speech’ defense

revenge porn site operator in jail

Kevin Bollaert appeared on Sunday Night Photo: Sunday Night

Convicted revenge operator Kevin Bollaert has spoken out from behind bars, claiming he ran the website in defence of [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"].

The 29-year-old San Diego man was [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]. His website hosted more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos posted by ex-lovers, detailing victims’ names, addresses and social media profiles.

“It was mostly for freedom of speech, First Amendment,” Mr Bollaert told Channel Seven’s Sunday Night, explaining his motives for running the website.

In an extraordinary interview, Mr Bollaert also denied many of the images were shared without the victims’ consent.

“Some of the images are actually of people wanting themselves to be exposed, like exhibitionists,” he said. “Not every single photograph was unconsensual (sic).”

He did, however, admit the site’s purpose was to allow people to post nude photographs out of retribution. The compromising photos cost some victims their jobs, damaged their relationships and even led to one attempted suicide.

“Partially it was used for revenge porn. Some people posted pictures … of women that maybe didn’t want to be exposed on the website, sure,” Mr Bollaert said.

He also ran another website offering his victims the chance to have their photos removed – but for a price.

“I understand that a lot of people were hurt a lot by the website. Especially when I saw them testify in court,” he said.

“I thought it was more of, like, a joke, than damaging people’s lives to that extent, you know?”

Challenged to elaborate further, he offered: “Well, you see, like, on the media, all the other celebrities that get their sex tapes exposed and naked images leaked. It’s more, like, not a big deal. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, I guess.”

He said it took until he was “sitting in court and all the girls were testifying against me and crying” before he realised the full extent of his crimes, admitting it was “really harmful”.

Danish woman Emma Holten, who was a victim of Mr Bollaert’s website in 2011, published her own [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"] late last year to take back consent and power.

“I could never have imagined that my rights could be taken away from me like that,” Ms Holten said on the program.

When asked what he had to say to Ms Holten, Mr Bollaert offered a brief apology.

“Emma, I’m sorry for making the website and I wish I never had done that. That’s pretty much it,” he said.

Mr Bollaert will be eligible for parole in 2025.

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Oklahoma man arrested in alleged revenge porn extortion

An Oklahoma man who allegedly blackmailed women with nude and sexually explicit photos on his “revenge porn” website has been arrested and faces charges in California, Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris announced Friday.

Casey E. Meyering, 28, of Tulsa, allegedly ran the “revenge porn” website known as WinByState that featured photos either stolen from victims or posted by angry former boyfriends, Harris’ office said.

In a kind of competition among states, the website encouraged men to post photos of women they used to date or of current girlfriends.

The website then required victims to pay $250 via a Google Wallet account to remove the photographs, the officials said. That financial account, registered at a non-existent Beverly Hills storefront, was eventually traced to Meyering.

“This behavior is the very definition of predatory and this website made a game out of humiliating victims for profit,” Harris said in a statement.

The attorney general began to investigate after a Northern California woman discovered stolen nude photos of herself on the site.  Officials said they found 400 postings involving California people and many more from around the country.

Meyering was arrested by California and Oklahoma law enforcement officers and charged with five felony extortion counts. He is resisting extradition to California.

In December, a San Diego man was arrested for allegedly operating a similar website and shakedown operation. Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, is awaiting trial on identity theft and extortion charges.

Oklahoma man arrested in alleged ‘revenge porn’ extortions – Los Angeles Times
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