PRIVACY

Former United Airlines Pilot Pleads Guilty To Revenge Porn Stalking

He's the rare revenge porn perpetrator busted by the FBI

PRIVACY
Photo Illustration: R. A. Di Ieso
Jun 17, 2016 at 5:39 PM ET

A former United Airlines pilot has pleaded guilty to federal stalking charges after posting his ex-girlfriend’s nude photos online for nine years despite her restraining orders against him.

According to FBI testimony, Mark Uhlenbrock was a fan of taking nude photos of his San Antonio-based girlfriend—both with her permission, and in at least one case, without it. That’s what eventually drove them apart, as she broke up with him in 2006, after a coworker told her he’d seen such photos on a swingers site online.

Private photos of Uhlenbrock’s ex-girlfriend kept cropping up online, prompting her to sue him twice in 2009 and once in 2011, despite court injunctions for him to stop and pay her restitution.

But Uhlenbrock didn’t stop, the FBI says. After finding that a WordPress user named “masturbatingstewardess” was putting those photos online, the FBI tracked down that user’s IP address, which resolved to Uhlenbrock’s residence. Uhlenbrock later told the FBI that he got particular excitement from posting that ex’s photos, and that he’d also linked to them on Reddit and posted them to myex.com.

Of note is the fact that Uhlenbrock’s charges were for stalking, rather than simply posting nude photos of someone without their permission. Revenge porn, as it’s commonly known, is illegal in more than half of the states in the U.S., including both Texas and Missouri, where Uhlenbrock is from, but there is no current federal law against the practice.

Victims of revenge porn only rarely see their harassers charged with harassment, Carrie Goldberg, a Brooklyn lawyer who specializes in defending revenge porn victims, told Vocativ.

“Stalking laws will not always apply to situations of revenge porn, because stalking requires there be a fear and a course of conduct, and a lot revenge porn is a singular act, just uploading material one time that then ends up going viral,” she said.

Goldberg has consulted on a longstanding effort from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) to introduce a federal revenge porn bill, though that hasn’t yet been introduced despite several false starts.

“Our federal stalking laws are no replacement for the revenge porn laws we need federally,” Goldberg said.

Uhlenbrock faces up to five years in prison.