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San Diego man arrested in ‘revenge porn’ website case

California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, shown in a file photo, announced the arrest of a San Diego man accused of operating a "revenge porn" website.
(Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — A 27-year-old San Diego man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of operating a “revenge porn” website and demanding up to $350 to remove sexually explicit photos of women that were often posted by angry former boyfriends or ex-husbands.

Kevin Christopher Bollaert was arrested by California Department of Justice agents and is being held at San Diego Central Jail on $50,000 bail. He faces 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion.

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“Online predators that profit from the extortion of private photos will be investigated and prosecuted for this reprehensible and illegal Internet activity,” said state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris.

Bollaert allegedly created a website in December 2012 that allowed the anonymous posting of nude and sexually explicit photos. The website required that the person posting the picture include the subject’s name, location, age and Facebook profile.

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Prosecutors said more than 10,000 images were posted between Dec. 2, 2012, and Sept. 17, 2013, from California and other states.

According to court documents, Bollaert created a second website that he used to contact people whose images were in the photos. He then offered to remove the photos for $299.99 to $350, authorities said.

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Bollaert told investigators he made about $900 a month from advertising on the site, documents show.

His PayPal account indicates that he received tens of thousands of dollars from people seeking to have their pictures taken down, according to prosecutors.

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A new California law makes it a misdemeanor to take and post pictures of a sexual nature on the Internet with intent to harass the subject. The case filed in San Diego County Superior Court alleges violations of existing felony statutes.

Court documents include emails to Bollaert’s website from women demanding that pictures of them be removed. In the emails, the women say that posting of the pictures left them angry, scared and feeling violated.

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“This website is an absolute disgrace,” emailed one woman. “It makes me sick you run this as your little family business.”

Another woman, from Santa Monica, emailed that after the pictures were posted along with her name and other personal information, she received phone calls, lewd photos and numerous emails from people “asking to ‘hook up.’”

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Bollaert and his partners are being sued in federal court in Chicago by a woman who alleges that the website posted 14 nude pictures of her without permission. The pictures, the lawsuit says, affected her relationship with family members, friends and work colleagues.

In an unrelated case, Bollaert faces federal charges in San Diego of making incorrect statements when purchasing firearms.

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tony.perry@latimes.com


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