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Emily Welker, Published September 30 2013

Woman claims phone number listed online promising sexual favors

FARGO – Cass County authorities are investigating a report of a woman who said someone posted her phone number to multiple websites along with a message promising sexual favors.

The woman’s complaint, detailed in a search warrant affidavit, echoes cases of “revenge porn” that have spurred a law in California prohibiting posting graphic images of a person online without their consent.

The search warrant filed on Friday in Cass County District Court states the woman contacted the Cass County Sheriff’s Department Sept. 13 to report receiving crude texts and messages from men asking about sexual favors.

The woman told a deputy she asked one of the callers why they were contacting her, and the caller said her phone number was listed on Craigslist offering sex to people who responded.

Craigslist took the ad down when the woman contacted them, but she again contacted the sheriff’s office later the same day, saying she was now getting graphic calls, videos, pictures and texts.

She looked at Craigslist and found her number was posted again, this time with a new ad saying her boyfriend was in jail, which he had been. The woman did not know who was posting her cellphone information.

The woman told a deputy that callers told her they had found her number under Craigslist and also on Backpage.com.

Cass County investigators sought the search warrant to retrieve information from Craiglist.

Capt. Mitch Burris of the Cass County Sheriff’s Department said he cannot comment on the investigation until it’s completed.

The woman has since disconnected the phone number.

Unlike “revenge porn” cases, in which former partners post explicit photos of their ex, court filings don’t include allegations that the victim’s image was included in the postings.

California legislators last month passed a new law that aims to make “revenge porn” illegal. Without such laws, legal experts have said the victims may have no recourse, since the websites aren’t responsible for the content of what their customers post.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541