Pacific Beach man sentenced to 18 years in 'revenge porn' ploy
Published - 04/06/15 - 07:06 AM | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Following an all-day sentencing hearing April 3, a judge handed down a term of 18 years to a Pacific Beach man who ran a “revenge porn” website featuring nude photos of mostly women whose ex-boyfriends or others submitted the photos without their consent.

Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 28, was ordered to pay $15,488 to six females and one male victim of his website, shut down in 2013 by the California Attorney General’s office, which said there were 10,031 unauthorized photographs on the site.

Bollaert was convicted Feb. 2 of six extortion counts in which he was charged with demanding payment between $250 and $350 to have the photos taken down. The jury also convicted him of 21 counts of identity theft in which the victim’s full names, hometowns, ages and sometimes work addresses and school history were posted.

Deputy Attorney General Tawnya Austin said Bollaert made $30,000 in the scheme.

San Diego Superior Court Judge David Gill turned down the defense request for probation, saying that was “completely off the table” because of the damages that occurred to the victims’ lives.

“He deserves to be punished very severely,” said Gill. “This case cries out for consecutive sentences… and to send a message. We have to honor the human dignity and incredible devastation (by victims).”

Gill's sentence surpassed the 10-year minimum Austin had sought, adding that the 18-year term was the maximum.

Bollaert will be serving the 18-year term in the San Diego county jail instead of state prison; this is allowed for certain nonviolent offenders under California’s public safety realignment law. Gill noted that Bollaert will likely be released after he serves nine actual years in local jails.

Bollaert, who will become the sheriff’s department’s longest-held prisoner until 2024, received credits for 62 days spent in jail. He had been free on $50,000 bond until the verdict, when Gill remanded him to jail. He was fined $12,044.

Attorney General Kamala Harris said Bollaert’s sentencing marked the nation's first criminal conviction of “a cyber-exploitation website operator.” Harris described Bollaert’s crimes as “sitting behind a computer, committing what is essentially a cowardly and criminal act.”

Attending the sentencing were many victims, some of whom told the judge about the trauma that occurred after they discovered the photos. Some of the images were e-mailed to their parents or co-workers. One woman said her parents kicked her out of the home and that she lost her car and her job.

Some women said others blamed them for having nude photos taken even if they were meant only for a boyfriend or husband. Most of the ex-boyfriends denied sending the photos to Bollaert, but some of their online accounts were apparently hacked.

One 24-year-old soldier told Gill his wife’s nude photos were hacked and that hundreds of vulgar messages were sent to him and his wife. He described Bollaert as a “monster.” He said other soldiers in his unit knew of his wife’s photos.

Others said they received hundreds of vulgar e-mails from strangers. Almost all of them said it occurred after Bollaert and others accessed their Facebook accounts in which personal information became part of his website called YouGotPosted.

“Cyberspace is a very, very scary place,” said Gill.

-- Neal Putnam

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