Here’s how the Washington Post tells the story of 34-year-old marketer (and former model) Madison Conradis, who discovered nude behind-the-scenes photos from 10 years earlier had leaked after a series of photographer web sites were breached:
Now the photos along with her name and contact information were on 4chan, a lawless website that allows users to post anonymously about topics as varied as music and white supremacy… Facebook users registered under fake names such as “Joe Bummer” sent her direct messages demanding that she send new, explicit photos, or else they would further spread the already leaked photos. Some pictures landed in her father’s Instagram messages, while marketing clients told her about the nude images that came their way. Madison was at a friend’s party when she got a panicked call from the manager of a hotel restaurant where she had worked: The photos had made their way to his inbox. After two years, hoping a new Florida law against cyberharassment would finally end the torture, Madison walked into her local Melbourne police station and shared everything. But she was told that what she was experiencing was not criminal.
What Madison still did not know was that other women were in the clutches of the same man on the internet — and all faced similar reactions from their local authorities. Without help from the police, they would have to pursue justice on their own.
Some cybersleuthing revealed the four women all had one follower in common on Facebook: Christopher Buonocore. (They were his ex-girlfriend, his ex-fiance, his relative, and a childhood friend.) Eventually Madison’s sister Christine — who had recently passed the bar exam — “prepared a 59-page document mapping the entire case with evidence and relevant statutes in each of the victims’ jurisdictions. She sent the document to all the women involved, and each showed up at her respective law enforcement offices, dropped the packet in front of investigators and demanded a criminal investigation.”
The sheriff in Florida’s Manatee County, Christine’s locality, passed the case up to federal investigators. And in July 2019, the FBI took over on behalf of all six women on the basis of the evidence of interstate cyberstalking that Christine had compiled…
The U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida took action at the end of December 2020, but without a federal law criminalizing the nonconsensual distribution of intimate images, she charged Buonocore with six counts of cyberstalking instead, which can apply to some cases involving interstate communication done with the intent to kill, injure, intimidate, harass or surveil someone. He pleaded guilty to all counts the following January…
U.S. District Judge Thomas Barber sentenced Buonocore to 15 years in federal prison — almost four years more than the prosecutor had requested.