Private Facebook groups lead to criminal investigations

by: Zach Crenshaw Updated:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Facebook groups designed to expose cheaters could land the people posting behind bars.

We first told you last night about private groups sharing explicit photos. 

Now it’s leading to police investigations.

RELATED: Memphis Facebook group exposing cheaters was breaking the law

The MPD is now investigating at least one case connected to these groups.

It started with catching cheaters. Groups like “Sis is this your man” were created to call out unfaithful guys. Men created their own like, “Bruh is this your girl?”

In a matter of days thousands of Memphians had joined the private groups, specifically exclusive to genders.

Thousands of people were in the private groups.

Things quickly went from harmless to illegal.

“It’s not a good thing,” said Shaneka.

Shaneka said photos of her were posted in one of the male groups.

 “I guess I was brought into the group because my ex, he felt some kind of way that I was in a whole new relationship and I guess he didn't want that. So I was put in the group to make a joke I guess,” she said.

That so-called joke is illegal though.

A state law passed in 2016 made posting an intimate, private picture of someone without permission a crime.

State representative G.A. Hardaway helped author the bill and told FOX13 over the phone that he did it to empower victims, like Shaneka.

 “When I found out about it, I was angry. But at the same time I knew there was something I could do about that,” said Shaneka.

The Memphis Police Department is now investigating who posted the pictures.

“That’s a crime. So I pressed charges. It's going to be a lesson,” she said.

It is a lesson many need to hear in this day and age, where sexual pictures are often used as blackmail and can live on the internet forever.

Shaneka and Representative Hardaway both hope people realize that just because a group is private, does not mean someone free from prosecution.

“I know justice is going to be served, I feel great,” said Shaneka.

Representative Hardaway told FOX13 he wants women and men to know they have the law on their side.

He also said the District Attorney has had special training to address the situation with care and women should feel comfortable filing a police report.

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