SUPERIOR– Seven women have filed a civil case against Jay Link of Wascott for posting photos of them, and photos claimed to be of them, on FetLife.com, a social media website self-described as “the Social Network for the BDSM, Fetish & Kinky Community. Like Facebook, but run by kinksters like you and me …”
The lawsuit claims that Link engaged in “extreme and outrageous conduct” meant to cause emotional distress and his alleged actions and false statements with the photos were made to an unknown number of people through FetLife who then could, and did, comment on the photos.
The women have charged Link with invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and defamation. Some also said the postings made them afraid for their well-being and may damage their reputations and employment.
The women are listed as Jane Doe 1 through Jane Doe 7 in the lawsuit, which was filed in Douglas County Circuit Court in Superior. While not identified in the public filing, their names have been made available to Link, according to the lawsuit. They are represented by Linda Coleman and John Carlson of Spears, Carlson and Coleman out of Washburn.
The women are from Minnesota, South Dakota (2), Washington, California, and Wisconsin (2).
FetLife.com is said to have more than 7.8 million members.
The lawsuit said the only requirement for free membership is the ability to receive a text. No age verification or screening process is in place. “These users could be from anywhere in the world and could be violent and dangerous,” the lawsuit said.
“Once a member, each member can post writings, photographs, and videos,” the lawsuit said. “While posting of photographs or videos not taken by the member them self is not permitted unless they are photos or videos of the member, however there is no way to enforce this policy.”
As with other social media, members are free to comment about the photos and videos.
Though Link uses real first names and nicknames of some of the identifiable women whose pictures he posted, he is not personally identified on FetLife.
The lawsuit connects Link, owner of the hunting guide company Link’s Wild Safaris, to the postings through apparently being the owner of the FetLifescreen name “Sexsafari” based on his FetLife profile, comparing the names of some of the women whose photos he used to friends on his Facebook account, the women’s knowledge that some of the “intimate” photos he used were taken by him, the age listed in his profile (49), and through photos of parts of his own body, including “his genitals, his arms, the top of head, etc.”
Sexsafari began posting photos around February 2017 and to date has posted more than 1,000 images of women, some of them showing men having sex with the women. Overall the photos include a mix apparently taken by the clothed women themselves in every-day situations such as at work, home, or the beach, plus photos not taken by the women where they are nude, partially nude, and/or taking part in sexual acts.
Nearly all of Sexsafari’s photos were labeled by the word “Slut” with a name, such as “Slut Sara.” Some of the women’s names used were real. Sexsafari referred to himself only as “Master” and said that he had had sex with the women in the photos and had “trained” them or was training them. He said he had “bred” some of the women and suggested that he was interested in trading some of his “sluts.”
All of the lawsuit’s defendants had a connection to Link, most of them Facebook friends of his at one time.
All of the photos that Link allegedly posted of the seven included the women’s real first name or nickname and sexually related comments or boasts.
The lawsuit said all seven of the women had experienced stress, humiliation and personal distress from the postings.
Jane Doe 1 met Link at a trade show and had met him just twice, both five years ago. She became a Facebook friend, and one of the four photos that he posted with her nickname was of her from her Facebook page. Three other photos used her name but someone else’s body parts.
The lawsuit said she never had a sexual relationship with Link but he claimed in the postings that he had.
Jane Doe 2 had one sexual interaction with Link years ago but declined subsequent advances. Five photos of her were posted on FetLife from her Facebook account with the word “Slut,” her name, and various descriptions, including falsely saying Link trained her.
Jane Doe 3 dated Link for approximately three years, an intimate relationship that ended more than 20 years ago. Link allegedly posted a photo of her from her Facebook page but added sexually related comments as the “master.”
Jane Doe 4 was an employee of Link many years ago, and a photo posted by Sexsafari was from her Facebook page, and it labeled her as a “trained slut.”
Jane Doe 5 had never met Link but knows of him through another Jane Doe with whom she was pictured in a posting.
Jane Doe 6 had an intimate dating relationship with Link for a few months more than two decades ago. Again, the three photos of her were from her Facebook page.
Jane Doe 7 briefly dated and had a sexual relationship with Link several years ago. He posted three of her Facebook photos and claimed that he had trained and bred her.
Suggestive comments accompanied the photos said to be the seven women.
The women are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees, and “Equitable relief to prevent and restrain future invasion of privacy, excluding prior restraint against constitutionally protected communication privately and through the public media.”
They are requesting a trial jury.
Link has 45 days from the filing date, July 15, to respond to the lawsuit. No attorney was listed for Link as of Tuesday.
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