CUNY Professor Wins $30 Million in Landmark Revenge Porn Lawsuit

A CUNY public health professor specializing in sexuality, Dr. Spring Chenoa Cooper, has been awarded a record-breaking $30 million in a revenge porn lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Broems. This verdict marks the largest amount awarded in such a case in New York City, according to Cooper’s lawyer, Daniel Szalkiewicz.

Cooper, 43, filed the first revenge porn case in New York City against Broems, a 37-year-old Brooklyn comedian, six years ago. The lawsuit accused Broems of posting explicit videos and photos of Cooper on various online platforms, including Tumblr, following their breakup. Cooper, an associate professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy, expressed her gratitude to the jury for validating her experiences and acknowledging the pain and trauma caused by the revenge porn.

In a corresponding criminal case, Broems pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor of disclosure of an intimate image on December 15, 2021. He received a no-jail sentence of 26 weeks attending a program for abusive partners and was ordered to stay away from Cooper for five years. Broems did not have legal representation during Cooper’s lawsuit and did not appear for the trial.

Cooper acknowledged that she may never receive the awarded amount but emphasized the symbolic significance of the verdict. She believes it sends a strong message of deterrence to others who may consider posting intimate images or videos without consent. Cooper stated that revenge porn is a form of sexual assault and expressed gratitude that the justice system is on the side of victims.

The lawsuit detailed a tumultuous relationship between Cooper and Broems, which ended in November 2017. Following the breakup, Broems engaged in relentless harassment, including sending daily explicit Snapchats and posting nude images of Cooper online. Despite Cooper’s efforts to seek legal protection, Broems continued to target her on social media platforms.

Cooper feared that her career would be negatively impacted by the ordeal, but she has since found success in her field. However, she wonders if hidden stigmas still exist due to the demeaning experience. Additionally, Cooper shared that her love life has suffered, as she finds it difficult to trust new people.

New York City’s revenge porn laws came into effect in February 2018, and Cooper’s lawsuit was the first filed under this statute. With the $30 million verdict, Cooper has achieved the largest amount awarded in a revenge porn case in the city. Cooper’s lawyer, Szalkiewicz, expressed gratitude to the jury for recognizing the lifelong consequences of image-based sexual abuse and hopes that the verdict serves as a warning against such behavior.

Under the law, victims of revenge porn can seek money damages, legal fees, and injunctions to block postings. The criminal component of the statute provides for up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for individuals who commit the crime.

Cooper’s experience has motivated her to become an advocate against cyber sexual abuse. She has joined the cyber sexual abuse task force in New York and incorporates the topic into her academic research.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. I completely agree with Dr. [CUNY public health professor’s name] when they said, “Sexuality is a fundamental aspect of human life, and it should be embraced and celebrated rather than stigmatized and shamed.” This quote resonates with the post because it highlights the importance of accepting and normalizing diverse sexualities.

    In many societies, there is still a significant amount of stigma and shame associated with discussing or expressing one’s sexuality openly. This can lead to feelings of isolation,

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