Revenge-porn 'scumbags' slapped with $385,000 judgment

Filed Under: Featured, Law & order, Privacy

xxx, Image courtesy of ShutterstockThere are 14 Jane Does who, I hope, are feeling vindicated today.

I speak of the women who were not only victimized by having their images posted on the revenge-porn site ugotposted but were also allegedly subjected to identity theft carried out by its founder, Kevin Christopher Bollaert.

On 18 March 2014, a federal district court judge in Ohio ordered Bollaert and another founder, Eric Chason, to pay one of those Jane Does $385,000 (£233,290) for posting sexually explicit images of her on their website.

Bollaert, 27, from the US city of San Diego, California, was arrested in December 2013 and charged with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion.

His site, at ugotposted.com, wasn't just your run-of-the-mill chamber pot full of burbling vindictiveness.

Such sites typically host anonymous, nude and explicit images of people without their permission, submitted by their exes in retaliation for getting dumped.

You Got Posted also hosted stolen or hacked images, according to the Attorney General for the state of California.

You Got Posted differed from similar sites only with regards to that "anonymous" bit.

Instead of anonymous submissions, the founders required submissions to include the subject's full name, location, age, and a link to their Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr profile.

But wait, that's not all! Setting innocent people up to get harassed may be fun, but it doesn't pay the bills.

So Bollaert set up a complementary service, to charge people to get back the reputations that ugotposted.com had so handily trashed.

Victims were extorted for as much as $350 each to remove the content.

Kevin BolleartAccording to the criminal complaint, between 2 December 2012 and 17 September 17 2013, Bollaert shimmied over $10,000 (£6,059) out of his victims, who went to his changemyreputation.com site to have their personal identifying information and images removed from ugotposted.com.

The suit was initiated by one of the Jane Does - a woman from the state of Ohio - in May 2013. You Got Posted had posted several sexually explicit images of her when she was underage, distributed without her knowledge or consent.

The judgment includes a $150,000 award to the plaintiff for each of two child pornography counts and $10,000 for a right of publicity count. It also included a $75,000 punitive damages award, typically used to scare away others from carrying out similar acts.

The defendants have also been barred from ever again publishing her images.

'Scumbags'

I borrow the term scumbag from the plaintiff's attorney, Marc Randazza, who's in the habit of referring to the defendants as such (and also has the wit to credit the others who handled her case in this delightful manner: Malcolm DeVoy IV of the Randazza Legal Group and "Prominent First Amendment Bad Ass" H. Louis Sirkin).

Kudos to bad-ass lawyers who battle scumbags!

Not to sound like a broken record, but staying safe boils down to being extremely careful when posting images online or on any wireless communication, whether it's computer, phone, or tablet - most particularly images that could be used to embarrass, threaten or sextort victims.

And once again, I'm offering up Naked Security's 10 tips from Safer Internet Day 2014 to get us all thinking before we engage in online activity, whether we're underage, overage, or just-right age.

Image of xxx thumbsdown courtesy of Shutterstock.

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7 Responses to Revenge-porn 'scumbags' slapped with $385,000 judgment

  1. Blake · 194 days ago

    Hopefully the other victims take him to court as well. Now this is a judge that uses his head for something other than a place to hang his hat. Too bad for the victims of Jared James Abrahams, that he didn't go before this judge. The justice system worked for these people. I am still a little amazed at the contrast of sentences in these two cases.

    Above I am referring to Wednesday's article on Naked security about Sextortionist who preyed on Miss Teen USA and 150 others sentenced to 18 months.

  2. Buck · 194 days ago

    Big fines but no prison time? That's just not right. Criminals should not be able to get off by simply writing a check.

    • Anonymous · 193 days ago

      The very fact that money was awarded means this was a civil case and not a criminal case, so prison time could not be given. However, if there has not been a criminal case yet, then evidence from this case such as the underage photos could be used should a criminal case go forward.

    • Laurence Marks · 193 days ago

      Buck wrote "Big fines but no prison time? That's just not right. Criminals should not be able to get off by simply writing a check."

      Uhh, Buck, this was a civil suit, not a criminal suit. There are no prison penalties available in civil suits. In case you don't understand the difference, a criminal case is brought when someone breaks a law; penalties could include fines, community service, or jail/prison time. A civil suit is brought when a person causes harm to another person. The plaintiff is the damaged person, not the "state." Penalties available are related to making the damaged person (plaintiff) "whole," that is, paying enough money or goods to compensate for the harm.

  3. John · 194 days ago

    This goes back to rule number 1, don't take (or let others) take nude or embarrassing photos/videos of yourself! Period.

  4. finnbarr · 194 days ago

    Digital is the downfall here. Bring these photos back to Polaroids, where they belong and can't be spread or stolen with a press of a button.

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.