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August 26, 2016

Michigan Woman Gets $500K in Revenge Porn Case

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich.—In one of the (so far) rare instances, a victim of "revenge porn"—posting nude and/or sexually explicit photos or video of someone without their knowledge or consent—has been awarded monetary damages by a court, and in this case, the unnamed woman is due to receive $500,000 from her ex-boyfriend. Only a couple of "revenge porn" recoveries have made the headlines. Perhaps the most famous was about one year ago, when rapper 50 Cent was ordered to pay $2 million to Lastonia Leviston after he posted a hardcore video of the pair, reportedly because Lastonia had taken up with 50 Cent's rival Rick Ross. In a similar matter, though not exactly "revenge porn," TV personality and ESPN host Erin Andrews was awarded $55 million by a Tennessee jury after her stalker, Michael Barrett, shot video of her in the nude through a peephole in the door of her Nashville Marriott hotel room. It is expected that the hotel will be on the hook for the bulk of that award. In the Oakland County case, neither the victim nor her ex-boyfriend were named, the latter because knowing his name would make it easier to identify the woman. However, after establishing a phony email account that appeared to belong to the woman, the ex convinced a photographer who had taken the photos to send them to him, and thereafter, he posted the nude photos of her on several internet sites. "My client was tormented for a year and a half over this occurrence," her attorney, Kyle Bristow, told the Detroit Free Press, noting that the case is the first of its kind in Michigan. "Before I got involved, she tried to plead with these websites to remove the photos. It was like a horrific game of 'Whack a Ball.' [sic] ... She was scared that she had a stalker out to get her. It affected her employment and her attendance at college. ... She's very happy with the results we've procured." Currently, 26 states and the District of Columbia have enacted revenge porn laws. A nationwide effort to criminalize revenge porn is currently before the U.S. Congress. Pictured: Chrissy Chambers, whose petition to outlaw revenge porn on change.com amassed more than 192,000 signatures.

 
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