South Florida Man Arrested Under New Revenge Porn Law

After a rocky three year relationship Michael Hamel, Jr. and his girlfriend parted ways. The breakup was not affable and was ended by the woman, whose name is being withheld.

The relationship grew so troubled that last September, Hamel’s girlfriend and mother of his child had a restraining order filed against him.

After the order was in place, although his girlfriend ceased contact with him, Mr. Hamel took to texting one of her ex’s family members while passing on a threat to her that he would post compromising pictures on the Internet if his ex-girlfriend allowed any new man in his life to get near their child.

Within the content of his texts (according to the family member; identified as her former sister-in-law) were samples of sexually explicit images of his ex-girlfriend. Her former sister-in-law later told police that Hamel also used the online service Snapchat to display the images for her to see.

According to Snapchat’s Support Page their servers are “designed to automatically delete ‘Snaps’ after they’ve been viewed by all recipients.” However they warn that those that view your content “can always save them, either by taking a screenshot or by using some other image-capture technology”.

But it wasn’t until he made good on his threat and posted an image of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook that caused local authorities to intervene.

The image displayed her pelvic area where an easily identifiable tattoo was also in plain sight in the background on her arm. The posted picture didn’t show his ex-girlfriend’s face but was easily identifiable to who it was.

Hamel, who is a Florida Keys resident, living on Block Island close to Key West was subsequently arrested and charged with sexual Cyberharassment. At the time of his arrest he was already facing charges for domestic battery and cocaine possession from a separate incident which occurred in June. Those charges are pending.

According to the arrest documents, in addition to the picture, Hamel threatened to add further content and wrote “Embarrassment number one, 5000 to go,” along with the posted image.

He is being held in the Stock Island Jail on a $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear before a judge on November 28. The new charge is a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a year in jail as well as a substantial fine.

It was only a little more than a year ago that the State of Florida enacted a new Revenge Pornography law which Hamel will now face as a criminal charge. Before the new law was put into place his girlfriend would have only been able to fight the “now” crime as a civil matter.

The law was tested for the first time earlier this year when Steven Ward a Seminole County resident, was arrested for posting a lewd picture of his wife on Facebook. He posted her name along with the photo and later texted his wife a screenshot of the posting so she would know what he did.

He too was previously arrested for a domestic violence related charge.
His case is pending.

To read more about Cyberharassment and the new Revenge Porn law, click here to view it in detail on my Website.

Michael Cohen is a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney with more than forty years of combined experience working for the prosecution and for almost half that time period defending the Constitutional rights of the citizens of South Florida.