A San Diego man was found guilty Monday of 27 felony counts for creating a so-called revenge porn website, where he posted more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos of women online to extort them for hundreds of dollars each.
It took a court clerk 20 minutes to read the list of convictions against 28-year-old Kevin Bollaert, guilty of 21 identity theft and 6 extortion counts. A mistrial was declared on one conspiracy count and one identity theft count.
The case — the first of its kind, filed by the California attorney general — centered on a now defunct website called YouGotPosted.com, created by Bollaert so ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends could submit embarrassing photos of victims for revenge. The photos also linked to victims’ social media accounts.
Prosecutors say those who wanted to get the pictures taken down were redirected to another one of Bollaert's sites, ChangeMyReputation.com. There, the victims were charged $300 to $350 to have their photos removed.I blogged about Bollaert's arrest back in December, 2013.
As the article also notes, California recently passed a law that criminalizes the sharing of sexually explicit photographs taken in the context of a private relationship. The first conviction under that new law was secured in early December.
California's recently-passed revenge porn law is a misdemeanor. But as Bollaert's conviction shows, those who base their businesses on revenge porn may face far more severe penalties from laws that are already on the books. Prosecutions of this nature may not be limited to defendants in California, since most states should have extortion and identity theft prohibitions that may apply to revenge porn websites.