LA Man Becomes First to Be Convicted Under California’s Revenge Porn Statute

After a four year relationship, Noe Iniguez and his girlfriend broke up. Almost immediately she began to suffer constant harassment from him. In November 2011, she obtained a restraining order after a barrage of harassing text messages. He was not deterred.

Using an alias, he began posting derogatory messages on her employer’s Facebook page in December 2013. In a campaign that would last several months, he continued to disparage her online. In March 2014, his attacks escalated with him posting a topless photo of her, captioning it with comments that called her a drunk and a slut.

He said that the employer should fire her.

In that moment, Iniguez’s ex-girlfriend had become a victim of revenge porn. Generally perpetuated by men upset at ex-girlfriends or wives, revenge porn is non-consensual or involuntary photography (or video) containing nude or sexual images distributed with the intention to inflict emotional distress or harm. Many victims have been violated through hackers who steal photos from emails and webcams. The women often don’t become aware they have been targeted until they get emails and phone calls from people who have seen their intimate moments shared online.

Even more horrifyingly, there is nothing they can do about it.

Unlike most victims, however, Iniguez’s ex had a chance to fight back. Six months earlier, California passed Senate Bill 255, which codified the California penal code to include revenge porn as “disorderly conduct.” When signed by Governor Jerry Brown, California had become only the second state to attempt to deal with this technologically advanced form of harassment. Attempts to create laws banning the practice have been met with resistance by free speech advocates who, while acknowledging the horrific nature of the so-called “speech,” are suspect of any laws that seem to encroach on the First Amendment.

California’s law was tailored to meet these concerns. It specifically states that there must be intent to cause emotional distress and that the intimate photo or recording was taken by the defendant. Both of these issues are also what made many revenge porn victims and their advocates unhappy with the law. In the vast majority of these cases, the victims took the photos themselves, which were misused by the abuser or otherwise stolen. As written, the law does not protect them. Furthermore, intent is difficult to prove in a court of law.

However, 36-year-old Iniguez’s actions were the perfect test case for the law.

With his repeated harassment on the Facebook page and encouraging her employer to fire her, it was obvious of his intent to harm her. This coupled with the harassing text message and previous restraining orders further solidified the emotional distress. The photo was also taken by Iniguez and used without his ex’s permission. After a seven day trial, Noe Iniguez became the first person convicted under the law.

On Monday, December 1, Iniguez was sentenced to one year in jail for posting the nude photo, as well as violating restraining orders. He was also sentenced to 36 months’ probation, as well as ordered to attend domestic violence counseling. He is also prohibited from contacting his ex.

It is unlikely that Iniguez will serve his full jail term due to overcrowding in the Los Angeles County Jail. However, the conviction is significant as it provides some recourse for victims of revenge porn victims who have no options. Two other revenge porn cases are currently working their way through California courts. In those cases, the owners of web sites are charged with felony extortion for demanding payment from victims as they tried to have their photos removed.

However, neither of these men face charges for the posting of the photos, which were uploaded to the sites by bitter exes. Doing that is still perfectly legal.

121 comments

Jerome S
Jerome S2 years ago

thanks

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim V3 years ago

thanks for the article.

SEND
Chad Anderson
Chad A4 years ago

Emma Holten is my hero!

SEND
Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

Although, overall this sounds like a good thing, I am still not sure how much good it will do. He was found guilty and sentenced but it also seemed to doubt if he will have to complete the sentence. He may go in just long enough to tick him off and come out to do worse. Guys like this are evil and have no boundaries. I don't understand the free speech controversey. Technology harrassment infringing on free speech? That is bull. How is anyone going to acheive any security. What about the cyber bullying that happens to kids - free speech? When is common sense going to be brought back into the laws.

SEND
Sharon Stein
Sharon S4 years ago

PROTECT YOURSELF TAKE NO SEXTING PHOTOS AND YOU CANT BE SEEN!

SEND
S. N.
Susan N4 years ago

Good move, California!

SEND
Rose NoFWDSPLZ
Rose B4 years ago

I am very happy that he was convicted

SEND
sandy g.
Sandy G4 years ago

This sucks, but at least the issue has a name and is slowly getting noticed.

SEND
Anna Pruett
Anna Pruett4 years ago

Thanks for sharing. Always good to stay safe, especially when sending materials around on the web.

SEND
Elizabeth F.
Elizabeth F4 years ago

noted

SEND