Virginia man gets suspended sentence in revenge porn case involving General Assembly staffer

Man charged with 7 revenge porn accounts involving General Assembly staffer

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A man charged with revenge porn involving a General Assembly staffer received a fine and a suspended sentence after pleading no contest to two of the seven charges he faced.

William Tyler Sims, 23, of Norfolk, faced charges stemming from a Jan. 17 incident when a member of the General Assembly received sexually suggestive messages and images of the victim, who was an intern at the time.

The images were sent using the victim’s email and were purportedly to have been sent by her. An investigation by Capitol Police revealed Sims sent the messages using an email address belonging to the victim, who was his estranged wife.

Sims was charged with three counts of harassment by computer, two counts of computer trespass and two counts of unlawful dissemination of images of another.

He pleaded no contest to one count of computer trespass and one count of computer harassment and was given a $100 fine and 12 months in jail for both charges with the terms suspended for three years.

Sims was also ordered by the judge to not have any contact with his estranged wife, except for divorce proceedings.

William Tyler Sims.
William Tyler Sims. (Source: Virginia Capitol Police)

Sims was being held by the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office on an unrelated DUI conviction in March when the department discovered he was wanted by Capitol Police on the revenge porn charges.

Each charge against Sims was a misdemeanor and punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

“It’s a serious misdemeanor though. It carries up to 12 months in jail,” NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin said.

It’s become such a problem in Virginia, lawmakers just expanded what can get someone in trouble. As of July 1, it will also be illegal to manipulate an image by adding someone’s face to someone else’s body, and then sharing or selling that image.

People have dubbed the behavior as revenge porn.

“There are people who, in their anger with a failed relationship or for whatever motivation, think it’s OK or acceptable to post images of a former lover on the Internet for revenge, hence the name revenge porn,” Benjamin said.

And while you never know when or if someone will do it, he says you can do is think twice.

“Think ‘would I be embarrassed if this showed up on social media or if this were sent to somebody else by email or text?'” he said.

As for Sims, he's awaiting his day in court although investigators say the damage is already done.

In other words, once the image is out there, you no longer have control over your privacy.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.