When an alleged rape is streamed live
A Phoenix man is indicted for allegedly livestreaming a sexual assault on a 20-year-old woman. The case, according to an Internet safety expert, may be the first of its kind.
Johnathon Hock, 20, was indicted Monday and charged with two counts of sexual assault and one charge of voyeurism.
According to an earlier report by the Associated Press, the charges stem from an incident on February 26, when Hock allegedly sexually assaulted a woman whom he had been dating for two weeks.
Phoenix police said in their probable cause statement, reported on June 3 by KPHO TV, that Hock "set up a computer with a Webcam and sexually assaulted a woman he knew as she was passed out from drinking alcohol."
Analyzing the reports is a sobering and troubling exercise.
The Associated Press reported that Christopher Stone, co-owner and administrator of a site called StickyDrama.com, which follows certain Internet celebrities, recorded the livestreaming and immediately contacted the police as he knew that what was being broadcast was criminal.
The AP also reported that Steven Fruchter, the CEO of Stickam.com, the site that carried the livestream, said the site ended the broadcast as soon as it was notified of what was happening.
"When the violation was immediately found, the alleged perpetrator was banned and we have an open line of communication with the authorities to provide any data they require," the AP quoted him as saying.
However, the same AP report said that Phoenix police Detective James Holmes said police only learned of the alleged assault from the 20-year-old alleged victim.
KPHO TV said that she had told the police that she only learned of the livestream after she received texts from her friends. She then logged on to the site, where she said she found photos of the alleged incident.
Police told KPHO TV that they obtained the video, which was five minutes long, and heard Hock boast of how the alleged victim was passed out, which left him able to have sex with her without her knowledge.
StickyDrama.com reported a conversation with a Phoenix journalist who said that Hock was indicted on Monday. The site also posted a YouTube video in which a woman declares that Hock should not go to jail over what was, according to her, a "misunderstanding."
East Valley Tribune.com, a local Phoenix newspaper, said: "A viewer in Lafayette, La., called the Arizona Department of Public Safety to report the rape." It also quoted Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety.org, an internet safety, help, and education resource, as saying: "It's the first livestream of an actual rape that I'm aware of."
However, perhaps what is beyond disturbing is that East Valley Tribune.com's June 3 report declared that images of the alleged victim could still be seen that day.
Amid all this distasteful confusion, one can only wonder about the alleged victim and the high supposition that copies of the livestream will always exist somewhere online.
And there is nothing she will ever be able to do about it.