My 22 year old daughter just found out there were nude pics of her on the internet that she did not pose for and did not know they were being taken. You can clearly see in the photo's she was changing clothes. These were recently posted by an ex boyfriend of about 5 years ago.. She has not had any contact with this man since they broke up and has now been married to someone else for almost 2 years. Is there anything she can do? We have contacted the website to get the photo's removed but the man needs to be held accountable for something so viscous.
You will probably have no trouble getting the website to take down the photos. Because she is underage most website operators will want to have nothing to do with posting those photos once they know her age. If he is sleazy enough to post the pictures on one website, he is likely to do it again. Your first priority should be to stop him. (Keep in mind that once something is posted on the Internet, it is usually impossible to totally remove it from the Internet.)
I agree that going to the police is a good idea. I would start where he is living now. Try to get the police to at least search his place and confiscate all copies of the photographs. They might be willing to do this for you. You could file a civil lawsuit yourself and ask the court to order the sheriff to confiscate the photos. But even if the court agrees, you will have to pay lawyers fees and the sheriff’s fees. That could get expensive.
Whether the police and the prosecutor will prosecute is not clear. Yes, Washington has both a child pornography statute (RCW 9.68A) and a voyeur statute (RCW 9A.44.115). But enforcement is often difficult. And if these are rather innocent pictures and an isolated case, the prosecutor may not want to dedicate resources to press charges. On the other hand, if the pictures are truly offensive and involve minors, prosecutors will often react strongly and prosecute.
You can also talk to an attorney and consider a civil lawsuit against this person. Such a suit would be expensive to pursue. It is often difficult to prove damages, although again, if the pictures are very offensive, it will be easier to get a money judgment. A judgment is not enough. You also have to collect. If this guy is young and has the poor judgment he has shown in this case, he may very well have little money. And suing him will bring attention to the pictures which is probably not what you want.
This is a very general answer. There is no substitute for talking about the specific facts of your case with an attorney. In this case you could consider both a criminal attorney and a civil litigator. I am not sure a personal injury attorney, ass suggested by another answer, is the right civil litigator. You may want to consider someone who has more speech law experience. For a general summary of speech law, see my article “Dangerous Talk: Speech and the Law” which is available for free from my law firm website.
Call the police in the jurisdiction where she believes the pictures were taken. If not that department, call the one where you believe he has the picture on a phone, camera or computer. Arguably, the photos can be considered child pornography as they depict a nude 17 year old girl, if you can truly prove she was 17 on the day the photo was taken. They would be pornography regardless of whether she consented or not. In PA, taking a photo of a person who is in a place where that person has an expectation of privacy is a crime and it may be so in the jurisdiction where the photos were taken. The police will know.
Depending on the jurisdiction where the photos were taken, you may have an invasion of privacy civil claim against the man. Meet with a local personal injury attorney who can help and advise you as to what, if any, action she can take.
What this man has done is take photographs that are possibly child pornography, but the more likely charge here in Washington is Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. I agree that you should report this to the police immediately.
The Elements of Sexual Exploitation of Minor — What the Government has to Prove.
A person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor if the person:
Compels a minor by threat or force to engage in sexually explicit conduct, knowing that such conduct will be photographed or part of a live performance;
Aids, invites, employs, authorizes, or causes a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, knowing that such conduct will be photographed or part of a live performance; or
Being a parent, legal guardian, or person having custody or control of a minor, permits the minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, knowing that the conduct will be photographed or part of a live performance.
Sexual exploitation of a minor is a class B felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW. RCW 9.68A.040. Sexual Exploitation of a Minor is a Class B felony sex offense, punishable by a sentence of 31 – 41 months in prison for a since instance, followed by three years of probation and a minimum of ten years of sex offender registration.
The Definition of Sexually Explicit Conduct — What is Prohibited?
The fact is that the law defines a very broad range of pictures as sexually explicit, and almost any photos of a nude child could meet the definition. The law reads:
"Sexually explicit conduct" means actual or simulated:
Sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals;
Penetration of the vagina or rectum by any object;
Defecation or urination for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer;
Depiction of the genitals or unclothed pubic or rectal areas of any minor, or the unclothed breast of a female minor, for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer. For the purposes of this subsection (4)(f), it is not necessary that the minor know that he or she is participating in the described conduct, or any aspect of it; and
Touching of a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or breast area for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer. RCW 9.68A.011 (4)
Even the mere depiction of a child’s unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks of breast can be sufficient to meet the test of "sexually explicit conduct" if the picture is deemed to be for the purposes of the sexual stimulation of the viewer.
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