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An Oklahoma man who operated a “revenge porn” website and demanded money from women to remove their nude photos was sentenced to three years in jail on Monday, a month after pleading no contest to four felonies.

Casey Meyering, 28, of Tulsa ran a site called WinByState.com, which invited users to submit naked photos of ex-girlfriends or other women, which were categorized by state. About 400 images of California women were included on the site, including at least one from Napa County, where Attorney General Kamala Harris filed the case against Meyering in 2014.

Harris said Meyering would remove the photos if asked by the women, but he demanded a payment of $250. Law enforcement officials paid the “takedown” fee for the Napa County woman, then traced the money to Meyering in Oklahoma, via a GoogleWallet account in Beverly Hills registered under the name TakeDownHammer.

“Meyering humiliated and belittled victims by operating a website that posted their intimate images and personal information, then extorted them for removal,” said Harris, who prosecuted the case instead of local prosecutors because it involved multiple jurisdictions in the state, in a release following the sentencing by Napa Superior Court Judge Mark S. Boessenecker.

“California will not tolerate the illegal actions of cyber exploitation operators who profit by degrading victims from behind a computer screen,” she said. “This sentence sends a clear message that cyber exploitation will lead to jail time.”

Meyering’s activities came to the attention of law enforcement in 2013, when a woman filed a complaint with police in Rohnert Park. She said a college classmate had hacked her computer and stolen nude images of her, photos that later appeared on WinByState. The classmate was later prosecuted and convicted of identity theft by Sonoma County officials, Harris said, but a wider investigation of the website was undertaken by the California Department of Justice’s eCrime unit, founded in 2011 to combat identity theft and other computer-related crimes.

Meyering was arrested in Oklahoma in 2014 and extradited to Napa County. He originally pleaded not guilty but on May 8 he pleaded no contest to one count of extortion, three counts of attempted extortion, and one count of conspiracy. A no contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.

The website is no longer active.

California passed a law in 2013 prohibiting the posting of photos that cause “substantial emotional distress or humiliation,” but it is only a misdemeanor. At the request of Harris, the state Legislature is considering several bills that would increase the penalties for such “revenge porn” sites, so called because they began as a way to humiliate former romantic partners.

Possibly the most famous of these, known as Isanyoneup.com, was founded in 2010 by Hunter Moore, who operated it for more than two years before selling the site in the face of a barrage of criticism. He pleaded guilty in February to federal identity theft charges and will spend seven years in jail and will pay $500,000 in fines.

In April, a San Diego man was sentenced to 18 years in prison for running a site similar to the one run by Meyering. Kevin Bollaert, 28, was found guilty of 27 counts of identity theft and extortion, in what was said to be the first such “revenge porn” trial in the United States.

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Editor

Sean has been editor of the Napa Valley Register since April of 2014. His previous credits include the Press Democrat, The Weekly Calistogan, The Washington Times and Time and People magazines.

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