The Angels of Revenge Porn Article by Erica Fink

The Angels of Revenge Porn Article by Erica Fink

Article By Erica Fink (CNN.com)

Erica Fink: 24 years old. She took a selfie. She didn’t send it to anyone but herself. It was meant for no one but somehow it ended up all over the web.

Charlotte Laws: My daughter’s topless picture ended up on the most notorious revenge porn website. She had taken photos in the mirror with her cell phone and wanted to save them on her computer. She sent them through her email to get them to her computer. She took over a hundred shots and one of them was topless. She had no intention of ever showing that topless picture to anyone.

Erica Fink: Until a hacker named Charlie Evans broke into her inbox. He sold her photo to Hunter Moore, a man dubbed, ‘King of Revenge Porn’. Revenge Porn is a growing form of harassment, your most personal photos posted online for anyone to see, without your permission. Moore built a career targeting women and posting their nudes on his site. And when he needed more pictures, he hired Evans to hack into women’s private accounts. The site became notorious, but those days would end when they took on Charlotte’s daughter.

When you got the call, as a mom, how did you react?

Charlotte: Just to see my daughter in tears over this; I felt so helpless. She was blaming herself, which is what a lot of victim’s do. I talked to nine attorneys in the beginning, they did not have a clue what to do.

Erica Fink: You kind of take this to a new level as a mother, you became this private investigator.

Charlotte: I realized there was nobody out there to protect these victims so I better learn about it quickly, and try to do what I can. I had a huge box, like a 12 inch box of information. I had found victims all over the country, who had been hacked by the same hacker, so I was able to give this information to the FBI, which I think helped because they realized it wasn’t just my daughter.

Erica Fink: And that’s why they call her the Erin Brockovich of Revenge Porn.

Charlotte: The first time I went undercover I was helping victims who wanted to serve him papers. So in addition to running the site, he would periodically host parties. So I’m locking my car door and I have this crazy get up on, this white pasty stuff on my face, this black wig, this little cap, sunglasses…yeah, I looked pretty humorous. I turn around in the parking lot and the person standing in my face is Hunter Moore.

This is my box of materials of my investigation. I don’t have any of the nude pictures here, I erased all those, but here are some samples from his site. So if you send a letter saying, ‘I think I’m going to kill myself, I can’t take this if you don’t take my pictures down.’ He was post the suicide note next to your nude pictures and then the followers would encourage you to kill yourself.

Erica Fink: Taking on Hunter Moore means taking on his cult like following. They go by #thefamily.

Charlotte: I’ve gotten death threats. Computer viruses bombarded on my computer. I’ve had a stalker at my house on two separate evenings.

Erica Fink: It hasn’t stopped her. Moore’s sentencing is approaching, and she is preparing women to testify against him in Court.

These are like anonymous mask.

Charlotte: These are Guy Fawkes mask. They can wear them into the Courthouse with maybe a shawl around their head, and then they can speak and no one would know their identity.

Erica Fink: For weeks, I tried over and over again to get a hold of Charlie Evans. The man who hacked Charlotte’s daughter and so many other women. I tried him one last time after leaving Charlotte’s home. He answered.

I am standing down the street from a woman whose life was turned upside down by the hacking you did. When it comes down to it, just why?

Charlie Evans: He offered me money. I was in a bad place. I said NO for about eight months, I got fired from my job for drinking.

Erica Fink: When you talk to some of these victims, and you see that their lives are ruined and they have no ability to get this type of stuff down, do you regret it?

Charlie Evans: I mean, what I did to them is horrible and it has also consumed my life. I’m gonna spend 2 – 3 years in Federal Prison. I’m okay with that.

Erica Fink: Would you say you are addicted to hacking?

Charlie Evans: Yeah. Actually, my first rehab was for that. I know it kind of sounds like a cop out, but … ya know … it was.

Erica Fink: What was it like the first time you hacked into a woman’s Facebook, or Twitter account, or inbox? What went through your head?

Charlie Evans: That’s a loaded question because I’ll seem like a sociopath if I say it gave me a rush. But …

Erica Fink: Seem like a sociopath, at least it’s honest.

Charlie Evans: I mean it doesn’t feel. When I am in my room … lights off … door locked … drinking … You know, I don’t feel the consequences. Like, if I had to look at somebody in the face to do that, it would be a different story.

Erica Fink: Dr. Gail Salt, is a clinical Psychiatrist. She says it is that disconnect that breeds this new type of harassment.

Dr. Gail Saltz: The fact that you can’t see the person’s facial expression, the fact that you can’t see the reaction in the moment, really removes it from the kind of empathy and sensitivity we normally as human beings would have with each other.

Charlie Evans: I did it for money. I mean, again that makes me sound like a monster … but I was short.

Erica Fink: How much money? Was the money that good?

Charlie Evans: Not enough. It’s scary how quickly I would drop my morals for so little. How much those women were worth. I mean it was like … $500.00 a week, $1,000.00 week, something if that. It was really my habit. You have to do all these mental gymnastics to be able to live with yourself.

[POST INTERVIEW COMMENTARY]

Erica Fink: Remember that dream you would have when you showed up to school naked. You felt completely humiliated and you woke up and thought, ‘Thank God that was just a dream.’ But what if I told you there are people, mainly women, who are living out that nightmare every day. That there are these underground communities devoted to exposing your most private moments. And there is even a name for it, Revenge Porn. Think of it as nonconsensual pornography. Naked photos, usually women, wind up naked on the web without their consent. Their aim, to shame and humiliate them, and there are a lot of ways it can happen. The one you have probably heard of, a bitter ex post a private photo online, a picture you thought no one would see. Then there are the hackers, who can take control of you webcam to record images or hack into your inbox to find them. A private selfie can become a viral sensation. Maybe you never even took a compromising photo of yourself, well you can still wind up naked online thanks to photoshop. Your head on someone else’s body. These pictures are posted on websites devoted to revenge porn. Then they are picked up by third party sites. It’s not long until they are everywhere.

So, I know what you are thinking, don’t take a naked photo of yourself, don’t send a selfie. It couldn’t happen to me. What if I told you, it could be out of your control? Hackers are getting smarter, the market for these images are getting bigger. So here is the naked truth, it can happen to anyone.

Charlie Evans: It will seem like a sociopath, but it can be a rush. It just doesn’t seem real.

Hidden Victim #1: Law enforcement straight up told me, how do you want us to help you? How can we help you?

Hidden Victim #2: “I really describe it similar to the feeling of getting raped.”