Kevin Bollaert Sentenced For Revenge Porn Websites That He Owned, Setting An Important Precedent For Future Cases

A man running a “revenge-porn” website, Kevin Bollaert, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted on 21 counts of identity theft and six counts of extortion. A San Diego native, 28-year-old Kevin Bollaert was the owner and operator of the websites UGotPosted.com and ChangeMyReputation.com. The sites were ways for men to get "revenge" on their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives by posting nude photos of them online without their consent.

Bollaert's official sentencing arrived Friday following an all-day hearing where victims of his websites recounted the humiliation they faced because of Bollaert. NBC San Diego reports that one woman told the court:

It’s just broken me on a level that’s not describable. The only thing I have left is shame and anger.

According to NBC San Diego, Bollaert posted more than 10,000 photos on the website UGotPosted.com. The photos also linked to the women’s social media accounts, and some even included personal information, such as the women’s names, home address, and employer information. If women found their photos on the website and wanted them to be removed, Bollaert allegedly charged as much as $350 for that to be done. According to court documents and evidence, Bollaert made more than $30,000 from these transactions. Consequently, his sentence also includes paying $10,000 in restitution.

The victims of the revenge porn website saw the photos harm their reputations, both professionally and personally, the Associated Press reports. The site cost some women their jobs, and even led to one woman’s suicide attempt. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said of Bollaert’s conviction:

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

Bollaert reportedly showed remorse for his actions, and even began crying when his mother and victims testified at the trial. NBC San Diego reports that Bollaert’s parents confirmed that their son had shown remorse, saying in a statement to the court:

He has said many times he wishes he never made the website … If he could go back and change it all, he would.

However, Bollaert’s sentencing ended up on the high side, with the maximum number of years in prison he could have faced set at 20 years. His case was the first of this sort in the U.S., and California marks the first state to prosecute someone for posting photos online, NBC San Diego reports. While the defense tried to argue that Bollaert technically had not broken any laws, with his lawyer pointing out that “all of the harassment in this case came from third parties," the prosecutors called him "vindictive" and said he enjoyed hurting females through his "tool of destruction" — the Internet — NBC San Diego reports.

California state law prohibits the posting of identifiable nude photos online after a breakup. The crime is punishable with six months in jail, or a fine of up to $1,000, NBC San Diego reports. Bollaert's case will likely set a precedent for cases in the future. Attorney General Harris said at the trial:

Sitting behind a computer committing what is essentially a cowardly and criminal act will not shield predators from the law or jail. We will continue to be vigilant and investigate and prosecute those who commit these deplorable acts.

Bollaert is eligible for parole after 10 years, contingent upon good behavior.