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Upstate South Carolina ‘Revenge Porn’ Investigation Rolls On

As does the debate over state law …

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Agents of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) are “actively using computer forensics” as they probe an alleged case of “revenge porn” involving Tiffany Ownbey, the first female mayor of Belton, S.C.

That is according to the latest update on the case provided early Monday morning by reporter Nikie Mayo of The Greenville News.

“We continue to look into the situation, and we’re exhausting all forensics and investigative leads,” SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby told Mayo.

As we reported two months ago, Ownbey is the alleged star of an undated “pornographic video” that she claimed was used against her as blackmail by a former romantic interest.

Her attorney, Druanne White, claimed one of the mayor’s former boyfriend “secretly videotaped a private intimate encounter on his cell phone without Tiffany’s consent.”

“This same man later admitted to Tiffany that he had secretly recorded her,” Ownbey’s attorney added. “He threatened to publicly distribute the recording if she broke up with him. Tiffany informed him that she would press charges if he did so.”

SLED has been on the case since late June, when Belton police chief Robert Young requested the statewide agency investigate the allegations. SLED is often called to lead investigations in which agencies have conflicts of interest or wish to remove any suspicion of partiality.

(Click to view)

(Via: File)

This news outlet addressed the Ownbey case last month after the mayor took to social media to blast her critics, whom she referred to as “miserable people try to bring others down because they are simply miserable in their own lives.”

“I pray for the grown adults and the ones against me every night,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “The ones terrorizing my children by using provocative and derogatory hand gestures at them as they ride by while they play outside. To the ones leaving skid marks on the road in front of our house waking our children up. We see you, we hear you and you’re on camera.”

Belton is a town of approximately 4,500 people located in eastern Anderson county – roughly twenty-five miles south of Greenville, S.C. Ownbey, 34, became the first female elected mayor in Belton’s 164-year history when she defeated incumbent Wendell Page last November.

This news outlet was recently furnished with a copy of the alleged revenge porn recording in this case, although we are declining to publish it for several reasons (most notably the fact we could not conclusively identify whether it was Ownbey who appeared in the tape).

We were also able to confirm the identity of the individual who allegedly filmed the racy encounter – although we are declining to publish that information as well due to the pending investigation.

Ownbey – who recently put her Belton, S.C. home on the market for $1.17 million – could pursue a civil case against her former romantic interest in the event a prosecutor determines no criminal charges are forthcoming, her attorney told Mayo.

She is also advocating strenuously for the passage of a revenge porn law in the Palmetto State – one of only four states in the nation that presently does not include such a statute on its books.

(Click to view)

(Via: Columbia SC Photographer Travis Bell)

State representative Mandy Powers Norrell (above) of Lancaster, S.C. – the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor – introduced legislation (H. 4088) last February that would have criminalized revenge porn, but her bill has not advanced out of committee.

Norrell’s bill would make it unlawful for “a person, absent a clear public purpose, to disseminate or sell any picture, drawing, video recording, film, digital electronic file, or other visual depiction or representation of these created by any means, or any reproduction of a picture, drawing, video recording, film, digital electronic file, or other visual depiction or representation of these that depicts another person in a state of sexually explicit nudity.”

The person disseminating this material must also know or have “reason to know” that they are not “licensed or privileged” to sell or spread such sensitive information – which would cause “emotional distress or embarrassment” to the victim.

As written, the proposed violation would be a misdemeanor – with a maximum fine of $1,000 and/ or a maximum prison term of one year. However, Norrell told us earlier this year she wanted to strengthen those penalties.

-FITSNews

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