SHARE

A student from Arizona has sued the University of Central Florida chapter of Delta Sigma Phi, as well as several of its members, claiming that some DSPhi members shared explicit photos and videos of her and other women in a private Facebook group without their permission.

The complaint, filed in a Florida district court Wednesday, the plaintiff was involved in a long-distance relationship with a Delta Sigma Phi brother at UCF in Orlando. The suit alleges that, in October, he shared explicit photos and videos of her that he received during their relationship on a secret Facebook page called the “Dog Pound”. The secret page is where “fraternity brothers routinely posted electronic video and images of their sexual ‘conquests”, according to the lawsuit.

The New York Times discovered that the national organization governing Delta Sigma Phi suspended the chapter at UCF. It is unclear how long the suspension will last. “While we cannot comment on specific allegations made in the lawsuit, these claims are disturbing and antithetical to our organization’s values and mission,” the fraternity said to the Times.

Content posted to the secret group were allegedly obtained through first-person sexual encounters, and many of the photos and videos posted were of “unsuspecting woman” according to the complaint. Kathryn Novak, the plaintiff in the case, is represented by Michael Avenatti, who has recently become known as the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Novak alleges that she engaged in consensual sex with her former partner, Brandon Simpson, while being recorded by Simpson without her knowledge. Avenatti said there’s “a number of women victimized by this and many videos posted.” Four other fraternity brothers have been named in the suit, and it is believed they viewed the content Simpson took of Novak.

Novak is seeking an injunction to stop the spread of the content online, and $75,000 in compensatory, punitive, and statutory damages.

The University of Central Florida, through a press release, said “These allegations are contrary to our core values. Although UCF is not a party to the suit, we are gathering information. If anyone believes they may have been impacted in this case, UCF wants to hear from you. Visit www.LetsBeClear.ucf.edu to learn about options for filing a report and seeking assistance.”

The lawsuit alleges UCF failed to address the culture that permitted the offenses against Novak to occur, but UCF is not named in the suit. Delta Sigma Phi’s national organization and their UCF chapter have not responded to inquiries lodged by the press.

The use of private digital platforms to spread stolen and non-consensual photos and videos – commonly called “revenge porn” – is a modern phenomenon. These types of crimes have become more common in recent years, including notable cases at Penn State University and the Marine Corps revenge porn scandal.

Facebook has been trying to stop the spread of revenge porn, but the platform’s ability to create and manage secret groups has made it a difficult task. The company has banned nudity on their platform, as well as removing non-consensual images routinely. However, monitoring the content of millions of weekly has become an issue in itself.

According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, over twelve percent of Americans have been a target of non-consensual pornography.

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY