Lauren Book fights back over nude images stolen from her
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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'I hate that this happened to me ... I know that I can do something about it.'

Sen. Lauren Book often has told the story about how she was sexually abused by her nanny for six years when she was a child. She channeled the pain into a lifetime of helping other abuse survivors.

Now after years of working hard to heal herself and restore her life — running a nonprofit to help victims, getting married, having children, and winning her Senate seat — Book has been victimized again, this time by someone trying to extort her by threatening to reveal nude photos that were stolen from her.

What’s worse: During the investigation, Book learned the images had been bought and traded online since 2000.

“I hate that this happened to me,” Book told The Associated Press in an interview. “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, the Democratic Senate Minority Leader from Plantation, is taking action as only a legislator can. While the pain came rushing back, so did her spirit to fight, and she’s seeking a new law to try to prevent others from being victimized.

SB 1798, sponsored by Book, a Democrat, gets its first committee hearing Tuesday, at the Criminal Justice Committee. It would strengthen Florida’s revenge porn law by making it a felony to steal sexually explicit images from someone’s phone or other digital devices. It would also make disseminating altered or created sexually explicit images, known as deepfakes, a felony.

Book vented her anger in the phone interview with the AP Monday night as she described the international trade and sale of images stolen from people without their knowledge. She cursed loudly at times, and sometimes choked back tears. She called it a sick, perverted subculture that pays more for images of celebrities and elected officials, but which also victimizes woman who aren’t well known.

“Truth be told, if it weren’t for my children, I would have ended my life,” she said. “It brought up all of the stuff. 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.”

And the conversations people had on the website made the horror worse.

“They were reading about who I was and talking about how I’m a survivor of rape, so let’s try to get some rape videos. Can we get some of her getting raped, killed, tortured? Can we make some of that? Can we find it? How can we get it?” Book said.

Book still doesn’t know how the images were stolen. But she said investigators told her the images the teenager used to try to extort her were sent from virtual private networks in Sweden and Russia.

As a 17-year-old daughter of an influential lobbyist, she found the courage while battling anorexia, sleepless nights and crying fits to go to Tallahassee and convince lawmakers and then-Gov. Jeb Bush to pass a law requiring HIV tests for rape suspects.

Now she’s a 37-year-old Senator, and feels blessed to be in a position to fight back, with the resources to hire an attorney to have images removed from websites. Many others don’t.

Still, while her childhood abuse had a beginning and an end — her abuser was prosecuted and imprisoned — this case will go on forever.

“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 said.

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Brendan Farrington


6 comments

  • Andrew Nappi

    January 25, 2022 at 8:21 am

    Ladies and gentlemen: The best way to avoid having your nudes and explicit photos stolen is not to create any.

    • Nick Bicker

      January 25, 2022 at 10:59 am

      You are exactly correct, Andrew. In fact, these pics are not just “nudes”, they are sexually explicit, and she obviously had them taken with her full consent. Now, she continues to talk about it openly, making an ever bigger issue of out it – to the extent that it has become national news. This is definitely a young woman with her own personal agenda, perhaps the Tommy Lee/Pamela Anderson of the Florida Senate (:

    • SR Smith

      January 25, 2022 at 11:34 am

      I was thinking the exact same thing!

  • Denise Waterford

    January 25, 2022 at 11:57 am

    I refuse to believe that she was sexually abused for a whole six years and no one did anything to stop it. And why did she take nude photo of herself? Did she circulate them herself to get sympathy or attention? Sorry, but I’m not falling for this kind of crap anymore!

  • Jadam

    January 25, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    The photos were taken by her abuser over 20 yrs ago, show some compassion, idiots!

    • Terry

      January 26, 2022 at 3:16 am

      You clearly haven’t seen them, she recorded a pornography video, she is 37 now and doesn’t look much different in the video. She may have the best intentions, but using a philanthropic cause like child abuse to try and get people to stop talking about a poor life choice you made is a poor defence if you ask me.

Comments are closed.


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