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Pornhub disseminated video of man raping 12-year-old boy: lawsuit

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Editor’s note: Warning, this article contains sexually explicit language some readers might find disturbing.

An Alabama mother has filed a lawsuit against Pornhub’s parent company, alleging the website distributed footage of a man molesting her 12-year-old son. 

The mother filed a complaint against MindGeek, the parent company of several major pornography websites, last month through the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division. She filed the suit under the name Plaintiff CV1 Mother for privacy reasons.

MindGeek’s foreign entities and Greenville, Alabama, resident Rocky Shay Franklin are listed as defendants. MindGeek did not immediately respond to The Christian Post’s request for comment. 

While the case occurred in 2018, National Center on Sexual Exploitation CEO Dawn Hawkins sees it as proof that MindGeek hasn’t taken child sex abuse seriously. 

“This case details titles of the videos which indicate the child was underage and obviously were meant to appeal to pedophiles searching for such content and MindGeek facilitated this,” Hawkins wrote in a Tuesday statement to The Christian Post.

“If MindGeek is serious about confronting child sexual abuse, it must actually conduct rigorous age and consent verification, not just of the uploader, who like in this case can be the abuser, but of everyone appearing in each video.” 

According to the lawsuit, Franklin collaborated with MindGeek to disseminate “obvious images and videos” of child molestation for profit. The lawsuit claims Franklin uploaded videos of him molesting CV1, a name used in the suit to conceal the minor’s identity. 

“This lawsuit concerns perhaps one of the most disturbing courses of conduct imaginable: the exploitation of child molestation for profit,” the lawsuit reads. 

“The MindGeek Defendants are those entities who utilized their platform(s) in collaboration with Defendant Franklin to disseminate obvious images and videos of child molestation, thereby profiting from their dissemination.”

According to the legal filing, Franklin lived with Plaintiff CV1 and her minor children from July 2018 to October 2018, assaulting her 12-year-old and the other child during this period. Franklin allegedly “overpowered” the children, drugging them occasionally to record his sexually violent acts. 

When uploading videos depicting his molestation of CV1, Franklin used titles such as “[Had sex] with my nephew” and “Taking Teen Virginity.” 

“In total, videos of CV1’s molestation generated an astonishing 188,000 video views with over 1,100 subscribers on Pornhub,” the complaint reads. “One video, entitled ‘My favorite nephew,’ generated over 50,000 views by itself.” 

Another video showing CV1’s abuse that Franklin uploaded in October 2019, titled “Opening Up Stepnephew’s Hole,” was up for sale on Pornhub for $15. 

In addition, the complaint states that authorities warned MindGeek three times in November and December 2019 about the videos, but the company did not remove them till mid-December. 

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency received 67 tips in September 2019 from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, prompting an investigation that allowed authorities to track down Franklin through his IP address.  

Law enforcement conducted a search warrant of his residence the following month, detaining Franklin in the Alabama jail in Butler County. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Franklin was sentenced to 40 years in prison “for sexual exploitation of a child, advertising child pornography, and distribution of child pornography.”

Franklin pleaded guilty to two counts of the sexual exploitation of a child, one count of advertising child pornography and two counts of distribution of child pornography. 

In a statement attributed to The Journal of Montreal by The Daily Wire on Monday, MindGeek said that it is aware of the lawsuit and is cooperating with the investigation. MindGeek said it sympathizes with abuse victims, stating that the company has “zero tolerance for illegal material.”

NCOSE’s Hawkins argues that porn websites should not be able to host “hardcore pornography” without verifying the age and consent of everyone who appears in that content. Hawkins stated that without this regulation, it is a guarantee that companies like MindGeek will host content featuring child sex abuse. 

“It is a reality and an inevitability, and it is time the pornography industry and websites that host it recognize that,” she wrote.

Pornhub is facing several lawsuits, including class-action litigation, related to content involving minors and victims who say footage of their sexual acts was posted online without their consent. 

In July, Serene Fleites filed a lawsuit against Pornhub’s parenting company, alleging that the site featured a sexually graphic video her boyfriend filmed of her when she was 13. Fleites claims that her boyfriend posted the video online without her consent. 

The video garnered over 400,00 views, which the complaint states led to MindGeek profiting from the advertisements in the video. 

Pornhub’s exploitative content garnered increased attention after a December 2020 New York Times exposé reported that the website profits from “child rapes” and other horrific “racist and misogynist content.” 

That same month, Visa and Mastercard announced they would temporarily prevent the use of their cards on Pornhub. In April 2021, Mastercard outlined new rules for banks that process payments for pornography websites, including age verification of the individuals featured online. 

NCOSE reported in a July blog post that Visa had re-established its relationship with Pornhub and similar sites. The group accused Visa of failing to “follow the example of Mastercard in requiring that sites hosting sexually explicit material implement common-sense measures to prevent and remove illegal content.” 

In September, NCOSE praised Instagram for suspending Pornhub. Pornhub’s Instagram account had 13 million followers and over 6,200 at the time of the suspension. While the account did not contain pornographic content, it encouraged users to become pornography performers. 

“Instagram was right to remove Pornhub from its platform for violating its community standards given the increasing reports of Pornhub hosting child sexual abuse material, sex trafficking, filmed rape, and non-consensual videos and images,” NCOSE CEO Dawn Hawkins said in a September statement to The Christian Post.

“Instagram served as a distribution partner with this criminal enterprise, helping to push millions to their website, including children. We are grateful that Instagram has heard the voices of sexual abuse survivors who have been personally harmed by Pornhub’s insatiable appetite for profit.”

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: [email protected]

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