Maryland mayor indicted in "revenge porn" case

The mayor of a town on the east coast of Maryland was arrested Monday and charged with posting nude photographs of a former romantic par...


The mayor of a town on the east coast of Maryland was arrested Monday and charged with posting nude photographs of a former romantic partner on online forums using sexually explicit language and racial epithets.

Andrew Bradshaw, Mayor of Cambridge, Md., Has been charged with 50 counts of violating a state law banning revenge pornography or the non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit photos or videos.

The state attorney’s office said Mr Bradshaw, 32, posted images of his former partner without his consent in April and May on Reddit, where users share and comment on links in themed forums.

The charges against Mr Bradshaw were the latest in a string of high-profile revenge pornography cases in recent years, and groups supporting victims of sexual violence say there has been an increase in reports of pornography revenge and other forms of online sexual harassment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Aaron Coleman was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives last year after admitting he harassed girls online while in college. This month, Mr. Coleman, a Democrat, was arrested and charged with domestic assault and battery.

Katie Hill, a former Democratic Congresswoman from California, resigned in October 2019 after nude photos that she said were taken of her without her consent were posted online.

And in 2017, The Department of Defense has opened an investigation into an all-male, invitation-only Facebook group called Marines United, in which members shared thousands of nude photos and other private photos of women in the Marine Corps without their knowledge or without their consent.

Maryland State Attorney Charlton T. Howard III said in a prosecution document that Mr Bradshaw posted nude photographs of his former partner on several Reddit groups, or subreddits, and wrote degrading comments and sexually explicit and including racial epithets. .

The photos were posted by accounts whose public usernames were made up of combinations of the victim’s name and date of birth, Howard said. She is not named in the indictment document and instead is identified as Victim 1.

She informed authorities of the messages in May, according to the indictment document, and said the only person she shared the photos with was Mr Bradshaw. Prosecutors said they connected the messages to an Internet Protocol address at his home.

Mr. Bradshaw defeats a three-term holder in a runoff in December and was sworn in as mayor of Cambridge, which has a population of around 13,000, in January.

Michael Belsky, an attorney for Mr Bradshaw, said: “The allegations against Mayor Bradshaw relate to private matters which unfortunately take place in a public forum. Nothing in the allegations in any way affects Mayor Bradshaw’s desire and intention to continue to rule all citizens of Cambridge.

Mr Bradshaw was arrested and released on his own contract on Monday, court documents show. He faces a maximum sentence of 100 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 250,000 if convicted on all counts.

Reddit prohibits users from posting nude photos without the subject’s permission. A representative said the company is investigating the incident and will remove any related content that violates its policies.

The city of Cambridge said in a statement that its activities would not be affected by the case because the head of its administrative activities is the city manager, not the mayor.

Lisae C. Jordan, executive director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said the case against Mr. Bradshaw was a “vivid example” of the type of harassment survivors describe as reports of pornographic revenge and harassment in line increased during the pandemic. .

“More and more we see people facing vengeful pornography, sexual exploitation with sexual harassment online,” Ms. Jordan said.

The landscape of pornographic revenge cases has changed dramatically over the past decade. In 2013, three states criminalized non-consensual pornography. Today, 48 states have done so, said Mary Anne Franks, president and director of legislative and technology policy at the Cyber-Civil Rights Initiative. Maryland’s revenge porn law came into effect in 2014.

Dr Franks said Maryland law, like others in the United States, was too restrictive because in order to convict someone, prosecutors must prove that the person who shared the photos intended to provoke a severe emotional distress.

This standard can protect people who say they posted photos for profit, to improve their reputation in their community, or because they didn’t think the person in the photo would care, Dr Franks said. Prosecutors may have an easier time proving malicious intent in Mr Bradshaw’s case, she said, due to the breadth and cruelty of the messages prosecutors accused him of making.

“What’s so troubling about these types of crimes is that they can’t really be undone in any way,” Dr. Franks said. “You cannot compensate a victim afterwards. You can’t really give her back what she lost.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Maryland mayor indicted in "revenge porn" case
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