Lawmaker Who Had Nude Pics Stolen Intros 'Revenge Porn' Law

Fla. state Sen. Lauren Book wants legislation to prevent others from being victimized
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 25, 2022 10:45 AM CST
Lawmaker Who Had Nude Pics Stolen Intros 'Revenge Porn' Law
Florida State Sen. Lauren Book says she was extorted by someone threatening to reveal nude photos that were stolen from her. She's sponsoring a bill making it a felony to steal sexually explicit images from digital devices.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(Newser) – Florida State Sen. Lauren Book often has told the story about how she was sexually abused by her nanny for six years when she was a child, per the AP. She channeled the pain into a lifetime of helping other abuse survivors. Now, after years of working hard to heal herself and restore her life—running a nonprofit to help victims, getting married, having children, and winning her Senate seat—Book has been victimized again, this time by a teenager trying to extort her by threatening to reveal nude photos that were stolen from her. What's worse: During the investigation, she learned that the images had been bought and traded online since 2020.

Book is taking action as only a legislator can. While the pain came rushing back, so did her spirit to fight, and she's seeking a new law to try to prevent others from being victimized. The bill sponsored by Book, a Democrat, gets its first committee hearing Tuesday. It would strengthen Florida's "revenge porn" law by making it a felony to buy, sell, or trade stolen sexually explicit images from someone's phone or other digital devices. It would also make disseminating altered or created sexually explicit images, known as deepfakes, a felony.

Book vented her anger in her phone interview with the AP Monday night as she described the international trade and sale of images stolen from people without their knowledge. She cursed loudly at times and sometimes choked back tears. She called it a sick, perverted subculture that pays more for images of celebrities and elected officials, but which also victimizes women who aren't well known.

And the conversations people had on the website made the horror worse. "They were reading about who I was and talking about how I'm a survivor of rape, so let's try to get some rape videos. Can we get some of her getting raped, killed, tortured? Can we make some of that? Can we find it? How can we get it?" Book said. Book had images of her and her husband on her phone, and said she shared a post-operation photo of her lumpectomy scar with a friend. She doesn't know how they were stolen. But she said investigators told her the images the teen used to try to extort her were sent from virtual private networks in Sweden and Russia. (Read more revenge porn stories.)

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