Finally, she persuaded Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies to investigate, and in March 2012, Tampa prosecutors filed criminal cyber-stalking charges against Seay. A month later, Jacobs sued her ex in Miami-Dade court. "She really did a number on me," Seay says. "All of a sudden, I'm accused of being a cyber rapist. I definitely got depressed."

The accusations rocked his family, particularly his pastor grandfather. They also nearly cost him his job as a sound engineer who was ironically entrusted with preventing exactly the type of leaks of sensitive information he was now accused of masterminding. "I would bring in new clients, and it would go really well until suddenly they'd call and say, 'Have you Googled your name recently?'" he says. "Then I'd lose $3,000 and two weeks of my time."

Seay hired a criminal attorney, who advised him to keep quiet. As a result, his side of the story was drowned out by Jacobs, who eloquently made her case around the globe.

"Because of the criminal charges, I couldn't talk to the media," Seay says. "I just had to sit here for six months not talking to anyone. I locked myself away and every day had see Google updates about what a terrible person I was. It was horrible."

But his legal strategy paid off October 3 when Hillsborough County prosecutors dropped all charges against him. The only evidence that investigators had unearthed was a tenuous link between his computer network and a fake email account created in his ex's name. But detectives couldn't prove Seay had created the email account or used it to disseminate any photos. "We had some proof issues that we couldn't overcome," says Mark Cox, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office.

The decision was a victory for Seay but not an outright vindication. "I will always be known as 'the horrible ex-boyfriend who did these horrible crimes,'" he says. "The person that Holly thinks that I am and that she has created in her head couldn't be farther from the truth. I find what she's done inexcusable, but half of me feels really bad for her... this whole situation has done some damage to her."

But the personal battle between Seay and Jacobs has also ballooned into a much bigger debate over the need for laws against revenge porn. Seay sees Jacobs' crusade as dangerous, not only for him but also for others who could get unjustly imprisoned by overly aggressive legislation.

"If I could figure out who did this, I would be right there with her at the podium championing holding that person accountable," he says. "But what I can't support is a witch-hunt that is completely baseless... People will use these laws for things they were never intended for."

Seay claims that the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office did a sloppy job investigating his case and that prosecutors never should have filed charges in the first place. Had stronger laws been on the books in Florida, he could be wrongly rotting behind bars, he says. (Seay has been arrested several other times, including once in 2012 for indecent exposure, but he was never charged with a crime.)

"The state doesn't have the resources to investigate these cases," he says. "I had detectives making leaps of judgment against me over technical internet issues that they didn't even understand... Not one person even asked for my laptop!"

Jacobs counters that lack of resources is an argument for — not against — revenge porn laws in Florida. This May, she pushed state legislators to pass such a bill, but it was watered down and ultimately shelved.

Her nonprofit, End Revenge Porn, has had some success. Earlier this month, California became the first state to pass revenge porn legislation. But even that law has huge loopholes, Jacobs says. It equates the offense to "disorderly conduct" — a misdemeanor — and doesn't protect victims like her who knowingly took the pictures but were betrayed later by former lovers.

The legislation has alarmed free speech advocates such as Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "It is imperative the state draw the legislation as narrowly as possible," he says, commending California for softening its law. "If it doesn't, there are going to be costly legal challenges" and questionable convictions. Roughly a dozen other states, including Florida, are considering bills to ban revenge porn.

Despite prosecutors' dropping charges against her ex, Jacobs remains more committed than ever to the cause. Not even Seay's suggestion that she posted some of the photos herself — a claim she furiously denies — can shake her dedication to fighting revenge porn. "It's become about helping others and changing lives and preventing this type of thing from happening again in the future," she says.

But she does have some barbed words for the man she still believes ruined her life with revenge porn: "If he just said, 'I didn't do it,' people would still blame him. But if he says, 'I'm a victim too,' then people start to wonder."

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29 comments
timsmith591
timsmith591

i hope the the boyfriend never enjoys another happy day in his life.......people who make the mistake of sending nude pictures DO NOT deserve to be publicly humiliated...i hope this guy rots in hell

Jelzmar
Jelzmar

" But she does have some barbed words for the man she still believes ruined her life with revenge porn: "If he just said, 'I didn't do it,' people would still blame him. But if he says, 'I'm a victim too,' then people start to wonder." "


Wow. If nothing else would have made me believe she was the one behind it . . . that statement sure did. It acknowledges that men don't actually have to do anything wrong (a woman just needs to say he does) for them to be perceived as the guilty party . . .  and their lives to be ruined. 

eahollin
eahollin

She shouldn't be championing the cause of 'Revenge Porn', she should use her story as an example to young women not to send nude pictures to boyfriends. Ruining someone else's life for your own cause is your own kind of revenge (Also, have you seen that she's written some books? Seems fishy that she used the publicity for this to catapult her writing career?). I'm sorry, but for her to be so set that he did this is ridiculous! I can't say for sure if my credit card is stolen that it was the waitress that had it for 5 minutes or someone hacked one of the online vendors I use, so how, when you sent the pics through the internet via email can you say it was for sure him that sent them out? Email can be hacked, we all know this, it is common knowledge. Give me a break, she just wanted attention!!

cyber_ninj4
cyber_ninj4

"cyber rape" are we really going to coin that phrase? She had naked material distributed on the internet and she was "raped".

I'm inclined to believe the man in this case simply because of the amount of "he has a penis, clearly he's guilty" that has gone on in this story. The woman's theory of using this crisis as a way to get back into her life is 50 shades of retarded. There are waaay easier ways to try to reconnect with an ex other than ruining their life. By that logic he should have run over her dog so they'd have a "shared" experience. And then after profusely apologizing he takes her out to dinner where he pops the question. 


If you want to make sure 100% that naked pictures and porno videos of your genitals DON'T appear on websites...don't email them to people!

bent1
bent1

i followed this story and there are a few facts that need to be aired.  Without Holli Jacobs/Thometz making all of this noise, very few people would have seen her naked.  Now admittedly, we all have.  Regardless of her intent, her public shame, mass public shame, is on her.  Two, in order to save her name in Google searches she has flooded the Web with pics of herself.  Most are vacation shots, some are her drinking, but most appeared to be her with numerous men.  Nothing wrong with that really, but it doesn't look good.  I can Google myself and not one picture of me appeared, Google her and there are hundred of pages.  Finally, simple fact, only one person is responsible for disributing naked pics of Holli Thometz, and that is the original, Holli Thometz.  Interesting update on the dropped charges, and the Guys side of the story.

bent1
bent1

i followed this story and there are a few facts that need to be aired.  Without Holli Jacobs/Thometz making all of this noise, very few people would have seen her naked.  Now admittedly, we all have.  Regardless of her intent, her public shame, mass public shame, is on her.  Two, in order to save her name in Google searches she has flooded the Web with pics of herself.  Most are vacation shots, some are her drinking, but most appeared to be her with numerous men.  Nothing wrong with that really, but it doesn't look good.  I can Google myself and not one picture of me appeared, Google her and there are hundred of pages.  Finally, simple fact, only one person is responsible for distributing naked pics of Holli Thometz, and that is the originator, Holli Thometz.  Interesting update on the dropped charges, and the Guys side of the story.

NorthoftheBorder Gold
NorthoftheBorder Gold

Stupid girl should not have sent the photos. Easy as that. He is most likely innocent but because he is male he is a horrible person and deserves execution.

Sha Almont
Sha Almont

If you give anyone naked pictures you deserve to be exposed....... live in the moment stop with this internet social media bullshit and be real people for once.

Garry Harrington
Garry Harrington

They both got what they deserved. Bottom line: Don't provide nude photos of yourself to anyone ever.

Lenny Lebowitz
Lenny Lebowitz

Honey if you let me take pics of you naked or you give me naked pics of yourself they are then my pics to do with as i wish ,, why are you so stupid to let my have naked pics of you in the first place

Erik Vairo
Erik Vairo

What makes it clear that she's lying is how hard she's trying to get her face and word out throughout not just her state, not just her country, but the WORLD, at the expense of ruining a mans life. She claims her life had been ruined but with the amount of exposure she's getting and what's been detailed in this article it's obvious that the opposite is taking place. She's trying to invent new laws to conveniently justify her claims, even when there's no direct evidence linking Seay to the leak. Seay got off on a reasonable and logical technicality and everybody is still giving him a hard time and Jacobs is still parading around the globe with her overdramatized story of "cyber rape". Who's the REAL victim here?

Danny Cespedes
Danny Cespedes

There's plenty of more women like her in Miami. Not victims, but wanting to humiliate and ruin someone's life because they feel like it.

Najsoj Osnola
Najsoj Osnola

"I had detectives making leaps of judgment against me over technical internet issues that they didn't even understand... Not one person even asked for my laptop!" (that is a statement from the guy)

Trish Shearer
Trish Shearer

No winners. Moral of the story: don't send naked pictures of yourself to anyone. It really isn't rocket science.

Turo Olvera
Turo Olvera

So since there was no evidence found they need to be more laws to accommodate her needs?

Najsoj Osnola
Najsoj Osnola

"Honestly, he's guilty," she says. "I just need stronger laws on the books to prove it." (that is a direct quote from the girl)

Najsoj Osnola
Najsoj Osnola

i read the story and that woman is a psycho ass liar.

JohnnySwift
JohnnySwift

Holly Jacobs needs to be beaten and raped to death in my opinion.  she is a piece of garbage and a liar.

timsmith591
timsmith591

@eahollin

If the boyfriend or anyone ADMITS to posting pornagraphic images of someone without their permission, do they deserve to be prosecuted?

I think revenge porn should be made a federal crime just like sexual harassment, if it happened to you you would want to be able to prosecute the person who humiliated you in front of the world


ladywyntre
ladywyntre

@bent1 I don't know the truth, but what I think you're missing is that she was teaching at a University and the pictures were sent to her *students*.  The worst damage she could experience was done at that point.  Public shame isn't as bad as thorough shaming throughout your private life, including work.

writegraphics
writegraphics

We dont need more laws to defend woman who are sluts and stuff by taking nude photos and sending them to people.


If anything we need LESS laws because it should teach them a lesson.

ladywyntre
ladywyntre

@JohnnySwift  Even if she *is* a liar, which we don't and can't know, nobody deserves your bullying, misogynistic garbage.  You are scum.  You are evil, evil scum.  Get off the Internet, go look in a mirror, and ask yourself if you have a shred of human decency. Your comment is disgusting.

 
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