Kaitlyn Cannon is suing her former math teacher after learning her nude photos were posted from his computer.
Cannon sent the intimate photos to a friend years before they ended up online.
The teacher's lawyer indicated in court that he was not the first to post them online.
TOMS RIVER, NJ – Kaitlyn Cannon had just graduated from Pennsylvania State University and was beginning what she believed to be a promising career in the television news industry when a text message in March 2018 changed her life.
An old friend came forward with a nightmare message: Intimate photos of Cannon were on a site notorious for trafficking in non-consensual pornography — or “revenge porn.”
Cannon had sent the photos to an old friend when she was still in college and they were still together. Now she has won a lawsuit in New Jersey against her high school math teacher after an investigation found the nude selfies were posted from his private IP address.
An Ocean County jury found Friday that Christopher Doyle, Cannon's teacher at Wall High School in New Jersey, had shared 14 of her nude and semi-nude selfies online. She still has no idea how he got it.
“I was shocked and confused and hoped it wasn't real,” Cannon testified Wednesday in Ocean County Superior Court.
Some of the photos featured her face, and all revealed her uniquely spelled first name, last initial, and small hometown in South Jersey. That explained why Cannon had received more than 10 creepy Facebook requests from men across the state in the previous weeks. It also explained why her parents and grandmother soon picked up the phone and heard men breathing heavily and talking lewdly, she said.
It was scary for Cannon, now 29, but that fear turned to outrage when her lawyer's investigation revealed the photos were linked to an IP address of Doyle – a man who once taught her math and her sister trained in tennis.
“I didn't think there would be anyone in my life who would do something like that,” Cannon said through sobs on the witness stand last Wednesday. “He's my former teacher. He's not someone who should see me like that.”
After five years of nightmares, panic attacks, lost friends, and what she called hundreds of hours of therapy, the jury of four women and three men ruled Cannon was awarded $10,000 in damages for breaching her privacy.
Doyle was found to have violated New Jersey's non-consensual pornography law and a law prohibiting the public disclosure of private facts.
Cannon's attorney, Cali P. Madia, told Insider the jury didn't believe it when Doyle said in court he couldn't remember whether or not he posted the photos.
Doyle's attorney did not respond to a call for comment Monday and declined to comment on Doyle's defense in court last week.
“Unfortunately, despite this egregious finding, the jury only awarded KC $10,000 in damages,” Madia told Insider. “We are obviously pleased that the jury saw through the defendant's story, but we are also disappointed that the award does not reflect the actual harm caused by the defendant.”
Doyle taught math and coached high school tennis before resigning over the allegations
Doyle is a tall, muscular man with a bald head and a graying beard. He began teaching math at Wall High School in 2004. There he also coached tennis for young men and women.
He had resigned from the school because of the allegations, his lawyer said in court last week. Doyle sat in the Jersey Shore courtroom on August 15, hunched over in a charcoal-covered suit and covering his face with his hand to avoid being photographed.
Cannon wore black pants, a gray jacket, and her flowing hair, streaked with blonde, cascaded down her back.
On the witness stand, she explained that she took the nude selfies around 2016 — about four years after graduating from Wall High School — when she was a sophomore at Penn State University. She sent them to her high school boyfriend who she dated for four years.
“I wanted to express the intimacy with him,” she testified.
This young man, now her ex-boyfriend, later told her that he had lost the phone. How her photos got from that phone to Doyle's IP address at his home in Jackson, New Jersey is a mystery.
What is no secret is the Dutch website Anon-IB Closed in late 2018 as part of a criminal investigation, was a clearinghouse for non-consensual pornography. It grouped photos by cities and towns, allowing online spy tomes to search the web for photos of their neighbors' naked bodies. Commentators labeled the photos “profits”. As of Thursday, an anonymous porn site with the same name appears to be back online.
Doyle's attorney, James Uilano, declined to explain his client's defense to insiders last Wednesday.
“I can't comment at all on the ongoing trial,” he told the courtroom last week.
However, his questioning of witnesses suggested he would argue that his client wasn't the first person to post the photos.
While Uilano did not deny Cannon's allegation that Doyle shared her photos on Anon-IB, he did hint that his client may not be the first or only one to share them online.
“There's a theory that Mr. Doyle saw them on the internet,” he said.
Uilano asked Nicholas Larry, the chief legal compliance officer who worked on the subpoena Cannon's attorney sent to Optimum, if a hacker might have been responsible for making it appear that photos were posted from Doyle's computer.
Larry replied that for all his assistance in thousands of criminal cases involving child pornography, kidnapping and mass shootings, he had never encountered such a hacker.
Uilano also interviewed two sex abuse experts about the true severity of Cannon's trauma, now that she has both a steady job and a husband.
Doyle didn't let an inside reporter speak to him in the courthouse last week. An email to a first-year math teacher named Christopher Doyle at Perth Amboy High School — a 40-minute drive from where he taught Cannon — was not returned.
The Wall School District did not respond to a call from Insider to confirm Doyle's resignation. The Perth Amboy School District also did not return calls to confirm if Doyle is currently a teacher there.
“I felt insecure in my own body and felt like it no longer belonged to me”
Cannon's husband, Beck Miller, testified Wednesday about his wife's ongoing problems.
“She's constantly nervous, even silent,” he said.
Cannon shook in the courtroom and fought back tears as she testified. Although her attorney managed to get her private photos removed from the forum two weeks after they appeared on the forum, Cannon explained that she will forever be haunted by the question of who saw them, who might have copied them, and if they might reappear . She testified that for the first time in her life she suffered from panic attacks, uncontrollable crying, excruciating stomach pains, loss of appetite, intimacy problems and extreme distrust of strangers and friends.
“It ruined my whole life in New Jersey because I felt like I couldn't leave my house,” she said. “I felt insecure in my own body and felt like it didn't belong to me anymore.”
Cannon was overcome with shock when she discovered her former teacher's apparent guilt
Asia Eaton, who teaches psychology at Florida International University, testified in videotaped testimony in court that Cannon's symptoms were a “textbook case” of image-based sexual abuse.
The common term “revenge porn” is misleading, she said, as perpetrators often have other motives, including status, sexual gratification and money.
“She's clearly a victim of non-consensual pornography” Eaton testified.
Cannon told the judges and insiders that she kept the ordeal a secret from her parents, knowing they were “of a different generation” before “this generation didn't exist.”
She eventually opened up to them because she felt responsible for the harassing calls to their home. At first, her mother did not understand her choices, but she never deviated from unconditional love. Cannon's mother sat in the front row of the courtroom, dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief.
Cannon testified that she was overcome with feelings of shock, hurt and disgust when she discovered the apparent guilt of her former teacher for sharing these images on the internet, which sent her back to therapy. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was prescribed antidepressants. She still goes to therapy weekly and expects to continue indefinitely.
“Someone who is looking on these sites for photos of people who used to teach them, people who are still in school, that really worries me,” she testified. “One of the reasons I'm here today is that it really, deeply troubles me.”
Cannon told the jury and insiders that she contacted local police to report the incident, but they did not press charges against Doyle.
Though Cannon was dismayed at the leak of the photos, she told Insider she never blamed herself.
“I don't think I've ever really been ashamed. I sent them to my partner who I dated remotely for four years. I've always felt strongly that I should be able to express myself the way I want to, and I shouldn't be punished and abused for it,” she told Insider. “That was something I held onto.”
Cannon wants to draw attention to the harmful consequences of “revenge porn”.
Eventually, Cannon gave up television news and enrolled at the University of North Carolina in graduate school to become a therapist. Now that she works closely with victims of sexual assault, she is making her own experiences as a victim more public.
She was quoted by her first name in one October 2020 Washington Post article about revenge porn. She also posts TikTok videos about her experiences and the mental health impact of revenge porn with the handle “revengeprngirl.”
For Cannon, sharing intimate photos is a younger generation's way of owning their sexuality — and that invasion of privacy wouldn't stop them from expressing themselves.
However, it serves as a reminder for people to be more aware of how their photos are shared online and to be clear about allowing their photos to be used, Cannon told Insider.
In an interview with Insider, Cannon said she was motivated to speak out — and using her full name for the first time — because she wanted to raise awareness of “how prominent and damaging” anonymous porn may be.
Cannon told Insider their civil case isn't about making an example of Doyle, it's about holding him accountable.
“These sites work by being organized by country, then by state, then by city. He went to a site for young women in the city where he works and looked for nude photos,” she said. “It's so worrying for me. Those websites could have had people who are still his students.”
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