CINCINNATI -- A relative of the Cincinnati Christian Hills Academy teacher who resigned Monday after nude photos of her spread on a "revenge porn" website has decided to take action.
The relative wants to work with local lawmakers to get a law passed prohibiting third parties from posting potentially damaging photos of others online.
A similar case is scheduled to continue in Hamilton County court on Dec. 17. Dolly Beattie, of Amelia, sued her former doctor, Terrance McCoy, and said he posted pictures of her online after the two had an affair. It was about that time Beattie lost her job at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. McCoy claims he didn't post the photos.
WCPO reporter Tom McKee spoke to two local attorneys about the possibility of a law to protect people from private photos surfacing on the Web.
Attorney Jack Greiner of Cincinnati law firm Graydon Head & Ritchey said the court would have to decide whether posting intimate pictures online constitutes as outrageous behavior.
"I think many courts probably would," Greiner said. "The person who posted it might get in trouble, but the host - the website that hosted - is probably immune from liability under the Federal Communications Decency Act."
What Beattie claims, along with other victims of revenge porn, is that the person who posted it was out to do harm.
"I think that would go a long way toward a jury finding who posted it is liable for a tort," Greiner said.
He advises that to stay safe, no one should send personal photos in the nude to anyone else. The intent behind the post is the likely debate for a jury, who could hold the sender accountable.
"I think that's probably the best advice because once it's out there it's impossible to really control it," Greiner said. "You may have a remedy after the fact, but the horse is out of the barn, so to speak, and I don't think it's a situation that anyone really wants to be in."
The Internet, he believes, is only a way to speed up the distribution of the intimate pictures.
"I think what the Internet does is just make it so much easier and makes it available to the world. Literally. They call it the World Wide Web for a reason."
Similarly, Attorney Monica Dias of Frost Brown Todd said along with the ease of photo sharing, everyone these days carries a phone with a camera app, and they're able to take and share photos at all times.
"Now, everybody has a camera on their phone, so it's easy to take pictures," Dias said. "It's so easy to take pictures of people in compromising positions frankly with or without their consent."
In court, a victim could question the invasion of his/her privacy as an argument. If someone posts compromising photos online without the person's consent, is it unreasonable or highly offensive?
"You invade their private space or their private facts and make that information public," Dias said. "If that invasion is the type that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, then you could win an invasion of privacy case."
Both attorneys advised that defense is the greatest offense - don't take compromising photos. If you do, keep them to yourself.