Revenge Porn Threats Justify Protection Order
(CN) - A married man who threatened to disseminate naked photos of his former mistress online must face an order of protection, the Maine Supreme Court ruled.
Ellen Clark and John Brian McLane had an affair for several months from 2011 to 2012, according to the decision, which notes that the "facts are undisputed." After the relationship ended, Clark told McLane's wife about the affair.
In early 2013, McLane sent Clark an email "containing a litany of insulting and derogatory remarks," Justice Ellen Gorman wrote for the court.
McLane also told Clark that he had obtained websites in her name on which he would post videos and nude photos of her. He said he was also setting up accounts with major search engines so the website would come up when Internet users searched for her name.
In addition, Clark told her that he had collected the email addresses of at least 18 of her colleagues, with whom he planned to share links to the websites.
"Guys will have your cell number, as well as your work number to get a hold of you and ask you out," McLane wrote.
He included a link to the website which read: "The naked pictures of EJ Clark will be coming soon ... along with her cell phone number and her work number for you to call and arrange a date."
Clark obtained a year-long protection order against McLane from a district judge in Biddeford after she said that she believed McLane would follow through with the website plan.
The court order prohibited McLane from contacting Clark, and directed McLane to take the websites down.
The Maine Supreme Court refused to disturb that order last week, concluding that McClane's conduct did in fact constitute abuse.
"Abuse comes in many forms, and neither the plain language of the protection statute nor our prior interpretations of it requires evidence of physical abuse or the risk of physical harm to sustain a finding of abuse," Gorman wrote.
The definition of abuse includes intimidation designed to prevent someone from engaging in activities which they have they right to pursue. In this case, the activity is Clark's right to go to work, according to the ruling.
"Clark testified that McLane's threats, which focused in large part on Clark's work colleagues and future employment prospects, were an attempt to humiliate her an cause her to avoid going to work," Gorman wrote. "Given the liberal construction of the statute that the legislature directs us to apply, the evidence Clark presented is sufficient as a matter of law to support the court's finding of abuse."