A San Diego man convicted of identity theft and extortion after posting more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos of women to his so-called "revenge porn" website was sentenced on Friday to 18 years behind bars.
The sentencing of Kevin Bollaert ended an all-day hearing where a number of victims told of the humiliation inflicted by his website. Bollaert burst into tears as he listened to testimony from his mother and victims.
The sentence was at the high end of the range; Bollaert faced a maximum of 20 years. In explaining his punishment, the judge noted that he stacked the sentencing terms based on the multiple victims.
Considering credits for good behavior, Bollaert could be eligible for parole after 10 years, the judge noted.
Bollaert also must pay $10,000 in restitution.
It was the first case of its type in the United States, and California was the first state to prosecute someone for posting humiliating pictures online. Bollaert was convicted of 27 counts of identity theft and extortion in connection to the thousands of photos posted online.
Once they were published, Bollaert would then demand hundreds of dollars from individuals to remove their photos through a second website he owned.
Prosecutors called Bollaert "vindictive" and claimed he took pleasure out of hurting his female victims with the internet being his "tool of destruction."
In court Friday, his parents told the judge their son has said he has shown remorse.
"He has said many times he wishes he never made the website...If he could go back and change it all, he would," they said in a statement to the court.
One after another victims shared how they were damaged by Bollaert's actions.
"It's just broken me on a level that's not describable," one woman told the court. "The only thing I have left is shame and anger."
Another explained how she is haunted by her photos being made public, saying,"If someone looks at me? Are they remembering me?" She also described her experience as a daily struggle.
A third victim said she has a hard time acknowledging Bollaert as a human being.
The case centered on a now defunct website called YouGotPosted.com, created by Bollaert so ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends could submit embarrassing photos of victims for revenge. The photos also linked to victims’ social media accounts.
Prosecutors say those who wanted to get the pictures taken down were redirected to another one of Bollaert's sites, ChangeMyReputation.com. There, the victims were charged $300 to $350 to have their photos removed.
State law prohibits anyone from putting identifiable nude photos online after a breakup, punishable with $1,000 or six months in jail.