Davis County prosecuting first 'revenge porn' criminal case

Thursday , September 05, 2013 - 6:34 AM

Handrahan...

Loretta Park, Standard-Examiner Staff

FARMINGTON — Davis County Attorney’s Office is prosecuting a case that nationally would be called “revenge porn.”

Shon C. Handrahan, 30, is charged with five counts of distribution of pornographic materials, third-degree felonies; and four counts of electronic communication harassment, class B misdemeanors. He appeared in 2nd District Court on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing and bail hearing.

His attorney, Edward Brass, waived the preliminary hearing and a felony arraignment hearing was set for Tuesday.

Handrahan is accused by Layton police of sending nude and obscene photographs of his then-estranged wife on Oct. 5, 2012, to people she knew, according to court documents. He is also accused of sending her more than 100 text messages, many containing threats, according to the document.

The couple’s divorce was finalized Nov. 16, 2012, according to the court website.

Charges were filed against Handrahan on Dec. 18, 2012, along with a warrant for his arrest. He was booked in Davis County Jail on Aug. 15, where he is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a case where a husband sent out pornographic photos of his ex-wife,” said Deputy Davis County Attorney Nathan Lyon.

Across the country, prosecutors and law enforcement are getting more complaints, generally from ex-wives and ex-girlfriends, about “revenge porn.”

Their private photos they once shared in an intimate relationship are now being used against them, according to news stories. Some states, such as California, Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia are considering laws to curtail revenge porn.

In Florida a proposed revenge porn law failed because of concerns of free speech, but legislators there are planning to try again next spring.

Kathy Allen is a victim advocate with Safe Harbor Crisis Center, a nonprofit agency that provides shelter, support services and advocacy to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Davis County.

She helps domestic violence victims with their protective orders.

Allen is hearing more from women that they are worried how their ex-boyfriend or ex-husband will use any photographs they once shared.

“Judges will put in protective orders that they can’t send photos out or put photos online,” Allen said, but that it is done on a case-by-case basis.

Allen said she would like to see Utah legislators consider a bill that could possibly enhance any current law if an ex uses photographs or videos as revenge.

She said that, currently, a woman who is not in a violent domestic relationship cannot get a protective order to stop an ex-husband or ex-boyfriend from posting photos online or texting them.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said if legislators would propose a bill that could protect against revenge porn, he “would seriously consider supporting it. But you need to be able to show (the texting and posting) was truly retaliatory and vindictive toward the victim.”

Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252, lpark@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaParkSE.

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