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King County Couple Cyberstalked For Two Years: Awarded $8.9 Million In Revenge Porn Verdict

A King County jury awarded $8.9 million to a couple who had been stalked by an Arizona man for two years.

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Courtney Allen met Zonis on an online browser game called “Grepolis” in 2012, where they became friends and shared explicit images and videos with each other, the complaint reads. However, in late 2014, Courtney decided to end her relationship with Zonis after her husband learned of it. According to the complaint, the woman asked the mysterious “friend” to end all contacts with her. Despite Courtney’s request, Zonis continued to reach her through email, phone, and text messages. At the time of the complaint, the stalker sent more than 300 emails and more than 300 text messages to the woman. He also left voicemails with “lewd and explicit language,” court documentation shows. Zonis then “began a vicious campaign to harm and humiliate Ms. Allen and Mr. Allen,” the complaint reads.

The list of harassments was quite long. It included sending sexually explicit videos of Courtney Allen to her husband and family, friends and neighbors; impersonating the couple with fake social networking profiles and posting intimate photos and videos of Courtney along with defamatory statements; calling members of the Allens’ family with threatening messages; sending explicit images and videos of Courtney to her and her husband’s employer; mailing and emailing the Allens’ neighbors with letters accusing Steven of domestic violence and child abuse; and making false reports to police about abuse.

According to the complaint, the Allens received a protection order, however, it did not stop Zonis from his abusive activities. The report stated that the harasser even impersonated Steven, the husband, in a threat to shoot up a pre-school.

“I felt we were going to have him in our lives forever,” Courtney said, who has been in therapy for two years to cope with the trauma. “I never saw an end to it.”

When the victims tried to contact the Kent police, the officers were helpful, however, since Zonis was located in Arizona, it was difficult to track him, attorney David Bateman said. Bateman added that even the Federal Bureau of Investigation was involved in the investigation. Zonis used the anonymity of the dark web to cover any link back to him and masked his IP address. This move of the suspect limited the evidence law enforcement authorities could gather in the case.

The couple only had one option: to file a lawsuit. However, after the Allens filed a lawsuit against Zonis in June 2015, the harassment only escalated, according to Courtney. Zonis made Stevens change jobs, but the harasser even found the husband at his new job place. He impersonated people in an attempt to get him fired and continued to distribute images of Courtney to colleagues and bosses, Courtney said. The attacks only stopped in 2016 when Zonis had to defend himself personally in court.

The trial forced the couple to face Zonis in court, whom Courtney had met in person only briefly while obtaining a protective order against him. The woman said that it was “terrifying” to face the man who harassed them for years.

“It certainly was scary,” said Steven, who was questioned by Zonis during the trial for 10 to 15 minutes. “He started getting so frustrated and angry.”

During the trial, Zonis denied all accusations against him. The harasser claimed that Steven was the one who stole his identity and not conversely.

The Allens did not seek to get any reparations from the accused person, they just wanted someone to believe them. However, when the Kings County court awarded them the amount of 8.9 million dollars, they tremendously relieved. Even their attorney was shocked by the verdict.

Both the couple and Bateman knew that they will never get the $8.9 million, however, they hope that the verdict gives hope to other victims of revenge pornography.

“I’m hoping it’s a warning to people who try to cyber stalk or harass or use images against other people. I’m hoping it’s something people will look at and realize, you can’t get away with this. This is wrong,” Courtney said in a statement to the media.

3 comments

  1. The story skips over how they found this guy to serve him the papers concerning the law suit.

  2. Married women sends nudes to a guy she ‘met’ playing a videogame, gets $8.9m… God bless America.

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