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Home  »  Sex Crimes   »   Former California Representative Katie Hill Fighting to Make Revenge Porn a Federal Crime

Former California Representative Katie Hill Fighting to Make Revenge Porn a Federal Crime

Former California Representative Katie Hill Fighting to Make Revenge Porn a Federal Crime

Jun 11, 2021

After nude images of her were disseminated around the world without her consent, former California representative, Katie Hill, reportedly feared for her safety and experienced suicidal thoughts, nightmares, anxiety, and mounting legal debt. Hill was the U.S. Representative from California’s 25th congressional district from January 2019 to November of that same year. Her tenure was cut short after a website called Red State published nude photos and private text messages in a story alleging that Hill had engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a staffer.

At the time, Hill was going through a nasty divorce. She has repeatedly denied that she had an affair with a staffer, and believes the source of the leaked nude photos and private text messages was her then-estranged husband (whom Hill has described as abusive). Hill resigned from Congress shortly after the Red State article was published, vowing to adamantly fight cyber exploitation (more commonly known as revenge porn) going forward.

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times published an interview with Hill where she described the toll the Red State article (and subsequent stories from other publications) took on her mental health. She also discussed her legal battle with the publications that released the nude photos and her fight to make revenge porn a federal crime.

“It hasn’t been easy. I think I’m somebody who has to kind of latch on to a cause… or a purpose. So this is giving me something that I know that I can be fighting for on behalf of other people,” Hill told the Los Angeles Times. “And I think that that’s a really important thing for me personally, too, and for my recovery.”

Earlier this month, Hill was in the news after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Yolanda Orozco, tossed the former congresswoman’s case accusing multiple media outlets of publishing revenge porn. Judge Orozco ruled that the publication of the photos was in the “public interest” given that it reflected Hill’s “character” and “qualifications” for office.

As a result of losing that lawsuit, Hill was ordered to pay approximately $220,000 in attorney’s fees to the media outlets that printed her nude photos. $84,000 must be paid to attorneys for the managing editor of Red State, $30,000 to representatives of a radio producer, and $105,000 to the parent company of U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail. Hill indicated she would appeal the decision, while a GoFundMe campaign was created to help cover some of the legal fees (she also owes $100,000 to her own attorney). As of this publication, the campaign had raised just over $30,000.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

After Judge Orozco’s decision, Hill tweeted:

“A judge just ordered me to PAY the Daily Mail more than $100k for the privilege of them publishing nude photos of me obtained from an abuser… The justice system is broken for victims #BoycottDailyMail

Hill’s current focus is the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which has been updated to make the sharing of intimate pictures a federal crime regardless of intent. The House of Representatives has passed the proposal, but it is unclear when the Senate will vote, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The reason that it’s so important is that when a federal criminal provision passes, it shows that this is a serious crime, that it’s not something that you know people can just get away with,” Hill said to the Los Angeles Times. Hill also noted that federal revenge porn laws are necessary because state laws are inconsistent and cyber exploitation does not adhere to state boundaries. “It also has this expressive impact on victims that this isn’t your fault – that you are the victim of a crime,” she told the Los Angeles Times.

If passed, the federal revenge porn law would not apply to her case (there would be no retroactive application). Hill told the Times that she was not surprised by Judge Orozco’s ruling, but it did trigger additional trauma.

It’s just this kind of emotional defeat and it’s very dehumanizing,” she told the local media outlet. “It just makes you really wonder what all this is for. I walk away from this and think, ‘I’m now over a third of a million dollars in debt, and for what, you know? For what from this lawsuit? For nothing.'”

Hill also told the Times that she worries about her safety and continues to struggle with the aftermath of the photo leak.

There hasn’t been closure to that chapter of my life and I don’t know if or when there ever will be,” she said. “I have dreams that are haunting all the time. Also I had to deal with my own PTSD. And I think that I’ve made a lot of progress over the last two years and I’ve done a ton of soul-searching and reflection. And I know no matter what, my purpose is going to be still to try to make things better for other people.”

Is Revenge Porn Illegal in California?

Distributing intimate images without a person’s consent is illegal in California. As we noted in a recent blog, California was actually the first state to outlaw revenge porn in 2013. California law explicitly states that it is illegal to “distribute the images wherein the victim is identifiable, with the intent to cause serious emotional harm or distress to the victim, thus causing the victim to actually suffer such distress.”

That means that if someone distributes intimate images or videos of you without your consent and that action harms you, the individual who leaked those images has committed a crime. Additionally, it’s important to note that revenge porn does not have to entail the leaking of intimate images over the internet. Simply sharing intimate images of you with others without your consent qualifies as revenge porn.

Moreover, California Senate Bill 255 (SB 25) states:

  • It is unlawful to invade a person’s privacy by looking through a hole or opening; use a periscope, telescope, binoculars, camera, camcorder, or mobile device to peep into a bedroom, bathroom, fitting room, or tanning booth.
  • It is unlawful for a person to intentionally distribute images of: another identifiable person’s intimate body parts; a person engaged in sexual acts; explicit material which both parties agree or understand shall remain private; explicit material which will cause serious emotional distress if distributed.

How Can I Afford a Revenge Porn Lawyer?

How Can I Afford a Revenge Porn Lawyer?
While the example of Katie Hill’s case resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, a civil lawsuit with the experienced sexual assault attorneys at Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is entirely different. At DLG, we only charge a fee after we’ve recovered maximum financial compensation on your behalf. That means that you pay nothing upfront and never have to worry about any hidden fees or out-of-pocket expenses.

DLG’s No Win/No Fee Guarantee means that any victim of revenge porn can secure the best available legal representation, regardless of financial means. We’ll listen to the facts of your case, launch a thorough investigation that seeks to remove any public images, and create a winning legal strategy based on our decades of experience.

What is a Revenge Porn Lawsuit Worth?

What is a Revenge Porn Lawsuit Worth

By filing a revenge porn civil lawsuit, the victim can recover financial compensation for various losses, such as emotional trauma, reduced quality of life, reduced earning capacity, any bills for psychological therapy or counseling, and more. If you’re the victim of revenge porn, you’re likely enduring substantial trauma and worrying about your reputation being damaged. You might be unable to work or even secure gainful employment because of the careless actions of the individual who leaked the intimate images.

Filing a civil lawsuit after a cyber exploitation or revenge porn incident can be the best option for securing rightful financial compensation for the harm you’ve sustained and the damage that’s been done. Do not let the offender get away with tarnishing your name, your reputation, your career, and your well-being. A revenge porn incident can have a far-reaching impact on the individual whose photos were leaked as well as their family and friends. Fight back and get the justice you deserve after a revenge porn incident by contacting the experienced and dedicated sexual assault lawyers at DLG.

DLG’s Unique Advantages for Revenge Porn Victims

DLG was founded by former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. Dordulian began his career as a sex crimes prosecutor, obtaining life sentences against some of the city’s most heinous sexual predators. As a Deputy D.A., Dordulian accrued over 100 jury trial victories. Now he uses that wealth of experience to help survivors of sex crimes like revenge porn recover the financial compensation they deserve.
Dordulian created DLG’s Sex Crimes Division to be the best in California, offering unique and invaluable resources to survivors of sexual assault that can’t be found at other firms. He established the SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) to provide sexual assault survivors four tiers of support – because some crimes require more than just expert legal representation.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your sexual assault case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

The SAJE Team includes:

  • Tier I: Sam Dordulian, litigation lead and former sex crimes prosecutor
  • Tier II: Moses Castillo, investigative lead and retired LAPD sex crimes detective
  • Tier III: A licensed clinical therapist with over 15 years of experience helping survivors of sexual assault
  • Tier IV: Two licensed and nationally accredited victim advocates who have dedicated their lives to providing 24/7 support to survivors of sexual assault

With DLG, clients have 24/7 access to the entire SAJE Team, ensuring they have an all-encompassing support network in addition to the best legal representation available in California.

To learn more about how DLG can help you recover a maximum damages award for a revenge porn crime, contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056. With a 98% success rate and a history of recovering over $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for clients like you, DLG is the absolute best choice when searching for a revenge porn lawyer in Los Angeles.

When you’re ready to come forward and seek the justice you deserve, we’re ready to listen. We’ll fight aggressively as your dedicated legal advocate for the maximum financial compensation you deserve.

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