UM medical student uploaded classmates' photos to fetish sites, court documents allege

2 women obtain restraining orders against Alex Zhang

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A University of Miami medical student is the focus of an internal investigation after court documents allege he uploaded his classmates' photographs on various websites, including one for foot-fetish fans.

Two women obtained restraining orders against Alex Zhang last week after they discovered their own photos on the websites.

Zhang, 25, has not replied to requests for comment on his Facebook and Instagram pages.

The photos were posted on bulletin-board type websites that cater to foot fetishes and "creep shots," in which users fantasize or sexualize photos taken in public places. The photos were originally posted on the women's social media pages.

At least one woman said she complained to the university several times since December 2015 about his "repeated acts of stalking and harassment." A sexual harassment complaint was filed against Zhang in April 2016, and the university ordered that he stay away from her, although he was allowed to remain in school.

"Federal statutes prevent us from commenting regarding any ongoing student matter," the administration said in a statement. "Regardless, creating and maintaining a safe and nurturing environment in which our students can learn is among the university's highest priorities. In compliance with Title IX, it is also our commitment to thoroughly investigate and adjudicate any allegations of inappropriate behavior among our students, while at the same time providing a safe atmosphere as an inquiry moves forward."

Zhang first began harassing one of the women "via text message, Facebook message and Snapchat," according to court documents.

In one instance, the woman uploaded a Snapchat post saying she was at the school's library. Zhang soon showed up and tried to sit with her, the documents allege. Eventually, the woman blocked Zhang from all of her social media accounts.

Zhang later went to a bar and "offered to buy students drinks and offered money" to look at the woman's Facebook photos, the documents allege. A month later, Zhang also went to a bar where she was attending a birthday party and was seen taking photos of her, the documents claim.

The woman linked Zhang to the photos on the websites because they included the ones he took at the bar.

The university went on to say in its statement that it has "retained the services of a nationally recognized firm to assist those members of the university community affected by the unauthorized postings."

About the Authors:

Peter Burke returned for a second stint of duty at Local 10 News in February 2014.