Former North Carolina county commissioner arrested in ‘revenge porn’ case

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A former Union County commissioner was arrested this month in a “revenge porn” case.

Jonathan Ryan Thomas was charged on June 1 with felony disclosure of private images, Union County jail records show.

Thomas’ accuser told The Charlotte Observer on Friday the charge involves photos and a 30-second video she never knew were shot or filmed during sex acts in a private home.

The woman said her boyfriend received the photos and video via text messages over the Memorial Day weekend., when Thomas was at the beach with friends.

Jonathan Thomas, shown in a 2014 file photo
Jonathan Thomas, shown in a 2014 file photo

Reached on his cellphone by the Observer on Friday, Thomas said the charge “should be dismissed soon.”

Thomas said he wanted to comment further but needed to check with his attorney, Thomas “Tee” Leitner, who told the Observer neither he nor Thomas could comment because the charge is pending.

The 45-year-old Thomas served a four-year term as a Union County commissioner until 2014.

Revenge porn law in NC

The term “revenge porn” in North Carolina derives from the law approved by the N.C. General Assembly in 2015 that includes the disclosure of private images charge.

The state law is defined as: “An Act to protect the public from revenge posting online by making it a criminal offense to disclose certain images in which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy and to make indecent exposure that occurs on private premises a criminal offense.”

North Carolina expanded protections against “revenge porn” in a law signed by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2017, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported at the time.

The 2017 law eliminated the “personal relationship” reference and added online streaming and other live transmissions as prohibited images, The N&O reported.

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