Woman blames photos on 'revenge porn'

Holli Thometz blames explicit photos of herself online on ex-boyfriend; Charges against him dismissed

MIAMI - A woman found hundreds of explicit photos of herself online, and she blamed her ex-boyfriend for uploading them, part of a troubling trend dubbed "revenge porn."

"I just always thought that's something that happens to celebrities. This would never happen to a normal person like me," said Holli Thometz. "Imagine my shock when I found that there were hundreds of photos."

Thometz said the photos began with her boyfriend, but after breaking up, the smiles and innocent everyday images turned "very explicit of us engaging in sexual contact with each other."

"I just went into -- I froze," said Thometz. "It's your worst nightmare."

She said her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Seay, uploaded the photos, adding that the photos were only sent between the two of them.

"I feel completely violated in a sexual way. This is absolutely a form of sexual assault," said Thometz. "He was the only one that had this material."

Police charged Seay with unlawful publication, harassment, and stalking. Those charges were dismissed earlier this month.

"I didn't do these things," said Seay.

Seay said his ex-girlfriend took most of the photos and sent them to him, adding that he didn't post anything himself.

"How this actually got leaked, disseminated is really, really hard to figure out," said Seay.

"It's really difficult to track," said Mary Anne Franks, an associate professor at the University of Miami Law School, who added that prosecuting revenge porn is nearly impossible.

Only California and New Jersey have laws making revenge porn illegal. Five others, including Florida, have proposed changing that.

"One answer could be is that the law is always very much behind technology," said Franks.

Thometz said her image can never be restored.

"Every time that I see the photos, it feels like I'm seeing them for the first time, it feels like I'm finding out for the first time, and I just feel completely violated and traumatized all over again," she said.

Thometz said she also found her face attached to bodies that weren't hers. More than 1,000 people with similar stories contacted her through The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, she said.

The law that would've made revenge porn a crime in Florida failed last session. On Monday, lawmakers plan to introduce a new measure making it a felony.

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