‘Revenge porn’ site operator sentenced to 18 years for identity theft, extortion

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A San Diego judge has sentenced 28-year-old Kevin Bollaert to 18 years in prison for running a “revenge porn” website that featured explicit photographs and included identifying information such as links to the victims’ social media accounts.

Bollaert solicited the photos from spurned ex-lovers who shared them without their former partners’ knowledge or consent. After posting the pictures, Bollaert charged victims around $300 to have them removed, the Los Angeles Times reported.

He was found guilty on six counts of extortion and 21 counts of identity theft in February.

“I ended up in mental hospitals twice because of this, and recently just had another break,” one victim of Bollaert’s “UGotPosted” website said at the sentencing hearing. “It’s been so traumatizing and I just want to get my life back to the way it was.”

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said in a statement Friday after the ruling was announced that sitting behind a computer “will not shield predators from the law or jail.”

“Today’s sentence makes clear there will be severe consequences for those that profit from the exploitation of victims online,” she said.

In a Feb. interview with local media, Bollaert said he created the website for the money and had not posted photos of any of his own ex-girlfriends.

“I’m sorry for everybody that I’ve hurt and hope they can forgive me for it,” Bollaert told ABC 10News.

Advocates say domestic violence is a growing problem in the online space, as abusers use new platforms and technologies to track and harass their victims, Reuters reported in March.

Last month, Facebook updated its community standards to explicitly ban images “shared in revenge or without permission from the people in the images.”

Twitter announced a similar measure in March, updating its abuse policy to specifically prohibit “intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.”

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