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Pontiac — A woman was awarded $500,000 this past week by an Oakland Circuit Court judge after her ex-boyfriend fraudulently obtained nude photos of her and posted them on multiple revenge porn websites.

It’s the first revenge porn civil suit to be won in the state, the woman’s attorney said. Kyle Bristow said his research indicates there have been some criminal prosecutions in such cases.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers made revenge porn a misdemeanor offense, a felony if a computer is involved.

The case is an example of a disturbing national trend where ex-lovers or others post nude photographs of people on the internet without their consent. Websites have been created specifically for this purpose, Bristow said.

Bristow agreed to discuss the case on condition that neither his 26-year-old client’s name nor that of her ex-boyfriend be identified for fear of retaliation to the woman by internet hackers and revenge porn users he described as “vicious.”

“She is an aspiring model and a couple years ago had voluntarily had some photos taken by a professional photographer,” Bristow said.

He said her ex-boyfriend learned of the photos and after they broke up contacted the photographer and pretended to be Bristow’s client. He tricked the photographer by claiming the photos were lost and the photographer sent him copies.

“She later learned from friends of photos of her being posted on the internet,” Bristow said, “but did not think her ex-boyfriend would be responsible.”

Bristow said the woman initially had some success begging the websites to take the photos down. But the pictures would pop up again or appear on a different revenge porn site.

Bristow tracked the source of the photos to the former boyfriend, identified only as a 27-year-old Macomb County man. In May, Bristow filed a lawsuit against him and the photographer seeking $1 million in damages.

“She had been living in fear for nearly two years,” Bristow said. “She didn’t know if her computer had been hacked or if she was victim of a break-in or if she was being stalked.

“She lost time from work due to stress and anxiety.”

Bristow has since been able to have the photos removed and Judge Martha Anderson ordered Wednesday a permanent injunction against the former boyfriend. Anderson ruled he must destroy any photos he has and never cause them to be published again. Violation of Anderson’s order could result in fines and even jail for civil contempt.

No money damages were assessed to the photographer who “had been duped” Bristow said.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

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