Charges say man posted sex videos of 2 ex-girlfriends to Facebook

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A former Brooklyn Center man faces four counts of criminal defamation for allegedly posting sex tapes he made with ex-girlfriends to Facebook, the Pioneer Press reports.

Three of the videos involve a 32-year-old woman, the other a 28-year-old, the newspaper says. According to the criminal complaint against Johnny Zehner, both women told police they were pressured or coerced into making the tapes and never consented to posting them online.

The Pioneer Press says the complaint quotes one of the women as saying Zehner, who's now living in New York, was trying to ruin her life. The other said Zehner had shown up at her workplace and had to be escorted away by police. Both women said they'd changed their phone numbers after repeated calls from Zehner.

Prosecution of Zehner could be tricky, particularly since the women agreed to make the videos. Only New Jersey and California have laws specifically banning "revenge porn." A technology law professor writing in Forbes says the law California passed last fall is very limited. For example, it applies only to images taken by people who are not pictured in them.

The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative is working to craft national anti-revenge porn legislation.

A student's opinion piece on the editorial page of the Minnesota Daily last fall called for stronger laws to protect a generation whose relationships play out over social media. "This is our generation’s problem," wrote Sam Jasenosky. "With the rise of revenge porn websites, we can’t allow loopholes in our cyber-bullying laws to leave victims without protection."

University of St. Thomas law professor Mark Osler tells the Pioneer Press the defamation law Dakota County prosecutors are using to prosecute Johnny Zehner is a broad one. Osler tells the newspaper prosecutors will likely have to show a motive of ill intent, while the defense may focus on the women's consent to making the tapes.

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