Fla. Lawmaker Had Nude Images Stolen and Wants to Protect Others from Exploitation: 'I Can Do Something'

·3 min read
Sen. Lauren Book
Sen. Lauren Book

Steve Cannon/AP/Shutterstock Florida state Sen. Lauren Book

After learning that naked images of herself had been stolen and then bought and traded online since 2020, Florida state Sen. Lauren Book is responding with legislation that aims to strengthen her state's revenge porn law.

Book, 37, is sponsoring a bill that would make it a felony to buy, sell or trade stolen sexually explicit images from someone's phone or another digital device. The legislation would also make it a felony to disseminate or sell digitally-altered sexually explicit images, also known as "deepfakes."

"I hate that this happened to me," Book, a Democrat and the state's Senate minority leader, told the Associated Press published Tuesday. "I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. But I'll take it, because I know that I can do something about it."

Book told the AP that the images taken from her included a post-operation photo of her lumpectomy scar that she with a friend. She said she doesn't know how the images were stolen but suggested that they may have been hacked from her digital storage.

Book is a survivor of sexual abuse and founded the group Lauren's Kids in 2007. The group aims to help people who were sexually abused in childhood and works to prevent future abuse.

Learning that private images of her own body had made their way across the Internet "brought up all of the stuff," Book told the AP.

"All of it that you think that you've gotten under your belt, that you've fixed it and you've changed it and then all of a sudden here it is in front of your face," she said, adding that the images are still online.

"There are still things up there. Still. They'll never be gone. People were buying it, people were trading it, and this is not unique. This is happening every single day, to women predominantly," she told the AP.

RELATED: 19-Year-Old Arrested for Allegedly Extorting, Cyberstalking Florida State Sen. Lauren Book

In December, a Florida man was arrested by the Broward County's Sheriff's Office after he allegedly threatened to release fake and sexually explicit photos of Book to Fox News.

Jeremy Kamperveen of Plantation, Florida, was arrested Nov. 17, according to The Miami Herald. Kamperveen, now 20, allegedly sent Book "sexually explicit photos" featuring "female genitalia and the portrayal of a sexual act," which he threatened to release unless the senator gave him $5,000 in gift cards.

Book reached out to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement after receiving the messages, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office arrest report obtained by TV station WFOR. The state senator told police that she was sent multiple messages, including one of her own breasts, which she told authorities "she had taken of herself and only shared with a close friend," per the Herald.

Book released a statement at the time of the arrest, saying, "Three weeks ago, I became the victim of ongoing sexual harassment and extortion," per the Herald.

She continued, "I immediately notified law enforcement and began working closely with them to track those responsible for sending threatening and disturbing images and messages to my phone, including distorted, fake and stolen images created in an effort to intimidate, threaten, and extort me."

Kamperveen is charged with cyber-stalking and extortion. He was released on bond after his arrest and has pleaded not guilty. A listed attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.