Porn Site Trial Closings Statements Due in Civil Trial of San Diego-Based Porn Site Owners

porn - Everystockphoto: Photographer PinkMoose
porn - Photographer PinkMoose

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Closing arguments will be delivered today in the civil trial brought by 22 women against the owners and operators of San Diego-based pornographic website GirlsDoPorn.com, with the women alleging the website’s operators falsely represented their business and lied to the women in stating that the videos would not be posted on the internet.

The plaintiffs — identified in court documents as Jane Does 1 through 22 — are seeking ownership rights to the videos in which they appeared and more than $22 million in damages from the defendants, which include GirlsDoPorn CEO Michael J. Pratt, actor Andre Garcia and videographer Matthew Wolfe.

The lawsuit alleges the women typically answered ads for a purported modeling agency, then were flown by the defendants to San Diego. At no time was the name GirlsDoPorn mentioned orally or in writing, according to plaintiffs’ attorney Ed Chapin.

While the pornographic nature of the work was sometimes discussed beforehand, some women claim they were not informed until after they arrived in San Diego, where the site’s owners filmed scenes at various high-end downtown San Diego hotels.

The women were allegedly assured the videos would only be distributed on DVDs to private parties living overseas and would not be posted online.

Chapin alleged several women told the Jane Does that they had been featured in videos, which were not posted on the internet. Chapin said those women were paid and instructed by Pratt and others on how to sell the job to the alleged victims.

The lawsuit alleges that if the women tried to back out of taking part in the scenes, they were told they could be sued or forced to reimburse the defendants for the cost of their flights to and from San Diego and hotel rooms booked for filming. Chapin alleged GirlsDoPorn’s braintrust also cut off contact with any women requesting their videos be taken down.

After their video was distributed over the internet, the website’s owners then allegedly posted the womens’ real names and contact information on other websites, opening them up to harassment and abuse from anonymous online users, as well as humiliation when the videos were discovered by family members, friends, classmates or employers, according to Chapin.

Some of the women allege in court documents that the ensuing shame drove them to depression and suicidal thoughts, even suicide attempts.

The attorney alleged that the names were purposely posted online by the heads of GirlsDoPorn in an effort to drive up website traffic, with one such prominent website taken down — allegedly by the defendants — nine days after the lawsuit was filed in 2016.

Defense attorney Aaron Sadock said the women claim they received oral assurances that the videos would only go to private parties — primarily on a DVD only to be distributed in Australia — yet signed written contracts stating that they released any distribution rights.

During his opening statement, Sadock showcased filmed testimonials from each plaintiff, in which they read statements relinquishing their distribution rights.

Chapin claims those statements were coerced or obtained by plying the women with alcohol or drugs. He also alleged that the women were handed the contracts in the hotel room just before filming and given no opportunity to properly read the documents, while Sadock countered that some of the plaintiffs had appeared in as many as five GirlsDoPorn videos and thus had ample opportunities to review the contracts.

The trial has entered its third month, with proceedings delayed in part by the filing of federal sex trafficking charges against Pratt, Wolfe and Garcia, as well as administrative assistant Valorie Moser and Amberlyn Dee Nored, allegedly one of the women accused of lying to victims about the nature of the work.

Pratt, a New Zealand native who remains at large, is also charged with production of child pornography and sex trafficking of a minor in connection with allegations regarding a 16-year-old girl.

The bench trial is being overseen by San Diego County Superior Court Judge Kevin A. Enright, who alone will decide the outcome of the case.

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