€420,000 fine for man who spread revenge porn

€420,000 fine for man who spread revenge porn
An anti-sexual harassment campaign in Belgium which translates as 'leave the girls alone.' Credit: Ugo Realfonzo / The Brussels Times

A 38-year-old man has been sentenced to pay an unprecedented fine of €420,000 after distributing pornographic images of his ex-girlfriend, Knack and De Morgen reported.

The couple split up in 2020 but just a few weeks later, explicit images of the woman appeared online. The man confessed that he had posted and shared the images on porn sites, but refused to take them down.

By December 2020, the woman filed a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend and Google at a court in Ghent. The court ordered that all images be removed under a penalty of €10,000 per infringement.

Despite the ruling, 42 images were still online in September 2021. The woman's lawyer then arranged for €420,000 of the man's assets to be seized. In September 2022, a judge ruled in the plaintiff's favour, finding that the man hadn't made a sufficient effort to remove the images online.

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The verdict is notable as the case hasn't gone to a criminal court. The victim's lawyers believe the judgment could have consequences for cases in future.

The ruling came even as Belgium's Federal Government has reformed its criminal code to more severely punish online sexual harassment, which includes taking and circulating unwanted explicit photos.


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