Revenge porn often hard to track, reverse

Woman says ex released nude pics

INDIANAPOLIS - Soon after Desiree Welborn met her now-ex-boyfriend, they were in a blissful, new relationship, but she wasn't prepared for what happened when that relationship went sour.

Welborn said she snapped a few nude pictures of herself and sent them to her then-boyfriend to spice up his day.

"We'd talk all night on the phone," she said. "I thought he was going to be this big new thing in my life."

When the relationship went sour, Welborn said her ex posted the photos on social media, making a private moment of indiscretion public, shared among their 200 mutual friends.

"I just was so shocked. I was like, 'Wow,'" she said. "I felt awful. I felt horrible. I laid on the couch for two weeks. I didn't do nothing. I didn't want to eat."

Welborn became among the thousands of people victimized by "revenge porn," where a bitter ex-lover posts nude pictures on social media or on websites.

"We're getting about 100 cases a month where people are asking, 'Hey, can you remove these pictures or these links out of Google because my ex-boyfriend from a month ago to six years ago has posted pictures or videos of us online,'" said Gregory Evans, a computer security expert and consultant.

Evans and his company, Hi-Tech Crime Solutions, have handled high-profile cases all over the U.S., responding to cases in which sexting and other file sharing have opened the door for violation of privacy.

"If you took pictures and you sent the pictures to them, then they own those pictures, and if they post those pictures up at the website, the chances of you getting them down without paying for it is going to be limited," Evans said.

Revenge porn sites often charge hundreds of dollars to have a photo removed. On one site that charges $400 for removal, pictures of more than 150 people from Indiana are posted.

There are hundreds of websites that post revenge porn photos. Without federal or state laws against the practice, attorneys are finding creative ways to shut them down.

"Several websites have been shut down by actions, through attorneys' actions trying to approach the website through protecting copyrights and protecting persons," said attorney Mark Busby. "It's not impossible to get that off there without paying the money, and you definitely should speak with an attorney about that."

When RTV6 approached Welborn's ex, his answers weren't straightforward.

"I've already seen it … because she sent it to me," he said. "She shouldn't have been sending me nude pictures."

Evans agreed that it's best to keep those pictures private.

"I don't care how long you've been with him. I don't care how much he says he loves you and you plan on marrying him," Evans said. "Don't do it."

"I kind of wish I wouldn't have been … so trusting," Welborn said. "Be careful who you trust."

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