A nine-year prison sentence handed down Wednesday wrapped up the first case ever prosecuted under a new “revenge porn” law in Washington, D.C.
Lamont Delrico Roberts was sentenced in D.C. Superior Court to a total of 109 months in prison Wednesday for multiple convictions including stalking and threatening, among others charges.
Roberts is the first person ever tried, convicted and sentenced under the new “Criminalization of Non-Consensual Pornography Act of 2014,” a D.C. law that prohibits the unauthorized publication or disclosure of intimate images, commonly known as “revenge porn.”
The legislation went on the books in May 2015 — the same month prosecutors said Roberts began a lengthy campaign of harassment against his victim, an unidentified former girlfriend. But while revenge porn cases typically take place online, prosecutors said Roberts personally distributed explicit photographs of his ex, placing them in publicly visible places after their relationship ended.
Roberts, 36, posted naked photographs of his ex-girlfriend on her car, the front door of her home and around her neighborhood, and in one instance showed up at her place of employment with a lewd image in hand, according to prosecutors.
“Lamont Roberts subjected the victim in this case — his ex-girlfriend — to months of threats and harassment. As a result, the victim’s entire life was altered, and she felt like she always had to look over her shoulder,” U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips said in a statement.
A jury found Roberts guilty in November 2016 of one count of stalking, three counts of making felony threats and one count of simple assault, in addition to five misdemeanor counts under the new revenge porn law. Judge Juliet J. McKenna sentenced him Wednesday to nine years in prison for the convictions, including nearly 2.5 years for the revenge porn, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
“I made a mistake, and I apologize,” Roberts said at Wednesday’s hearing, The Washington Post reported.
Thirty-five states and D.C. have enacted laws against revenge porn, according to the nonprofit Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. In the nation’s capital, defendants can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on what extent the revenge porn was distributed. Individuals accused of posting intimate images without the subject’s consent may be charged with a felony if the photographs are circulated online or seen by six or more people; Richards’ crimes fell short of that threshold, so he was charged with merely misdemeanors.
“Hopefully, today’s sentence will serve as a deterrent to others who will think twice before engaging in such conduct,” Mr. Phillips told WTOP.
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