Southeast Texas women to take "revenge" porn sites to court

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 9:16am

BEAUMONT, TEXAS (KBMT) -- Southeast Texas women are making astonishing discoveries; their nude pictures on what are known as "revenge websites."

Sometimes they didn't even know the naked pictures had been taken, usually by ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands.

Attorney John Morgan at Morgan Law Firm is representing 23 Southeast Texas women who have found themselves on these sites. Morgan is planning to file a class action lawsuit against two websites on Friday claiming invasion of privacy.

To avoid calling attention to the particular sites and exploiting the women further, 12 News will not name the sites. Morgan hopes to shut them down and restore the privacy of these women.

"When this first happened to me, I thought 'Why me?'", says Hollie Toups of Nederland.

Six months ago, Toups found nude pictures of herself on an X-rated revenge site.

"I've been in line at the store and someone will say 'Do I know you, No?' Oh, you were that girl on the website.' Then, you just want to crawl under where you're at," says Toups.

Toups says everyone has a private life and the photos were stolen from her, then uploaded on public sites without her permission.

One site in question features Texas women. Often, it is men submitting pictures of their exes as retaliation. Sometimes, the women don't even know the pictures were taken.

Toups says "These pictures that were exposed of all of us, they were not willingly exposed. They were taken from us. Our privacy was invaded and that's something you can never get back."

Morgan is also going after those who pay to browse.

"I'm going to sue every single subscriber, every single member, every single person who gives their credit card information to join so they can get more intimate and unauthorized information about these women," says Morgan.

Another woman finding herself on the site is Marianna Taschinger. She says her picture was taken five years ago and it was uploaded this past December.

"I have people calling me a slut from a picture I took when I was a teenager. Teenagers make mistakes. I'm not a slut," says Taschinger.

12 News found multiple revenge websites that were all easily accessible.

"The people to blame here are the people hiding behind the computers," said Toups.

Toups and Taschinger want the other victims to know that they are not alone.

"I think that people need to know there is help and this is wrong. We are working to fix it," said Taschinger.

Toups agrees.

"We all need to work together. There's strength in numbers. We can stand up and make this all stop and go away," said Toups.

There are support groups for women who feel they are victims of revenge websites. Toups is an advocate for EndRevengePorn.com.

Morgan says people who find themselves on the site have lost jobs, feel blacklisted in the community, become hermits, change friends and even become suicidal. He says women should not feel belittled. He says get involved in support groups for revenge porn and be active.

Morgan tells 12 News some pictures are of underage girls and he has turned those pictures over to the FBI to investigate.

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