Police: Man Broadcast Sex Assault Live On Net
Hock, 20, is the subject of fan sites and anti-Hock sites, and there are even Hock imitators. Following his arrest this week, some online users posted messages saying they can't wait to have sex with him once he's out of jail, while others say he's getting what he deserves.
Police said Hock sexually assaulted a woman he'd been dating for about two weeks after she became drunk and passed out at her home Feb. 26. The assault was streamed live on the Web site Stickam.com, according to court documents. Two stills of the incident were posted on the Web site StickyDrama.com, an online tabloid following popular Internet personalities.
Phoenix police Detective James Holmes said Wednesday that authorities fear there may be more victims, but have no way of knowing until someone comes forward.
Hock, who remains jailed, on Wednesday declined an interview request made through the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, and it's unclear whether he has a lawyer.
Hock lives with his mother, Jenna Cummings, in the Phoenix suburb of Surprise. She told The Associated Press that she had no comment when reached by phone Wednesday.
Hock is being held for investigation on two charges of sexual assault, one charge of kidnapping and one charge of taking a surreptitious video. Hock was arrested Monday after meeting with investigators at their request at Phoenix police headquarters, Holmes said.
Viewers who watched the broadcast online told police it showed Hock performing oral sex on the unconscious woman, according to a probable cause statement filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. Police obtained a video of the broadcast, but declined to discuss its contents, saying only that it depicted a sexual assault.
One of the two still photos of the incident on StickyDrama.com shows Hock apparently caressing the woman's face while she's lying on the bed, naked below the waist. In the other, he's lying next to her in a T-shirt and black underwear.
One viewer wrote "poor girl," with another posting "ur sooo mean lol."
Steven Fruchter, CEO at Stickam.com, said in a statement that he couldn't discuss details of the case.
"Stickam employs a dedicated 24/7 monitoring team to enforce our strict terms of service for our millions of members, as was done in this case," the statement read. "When the violation was immediately found, the alleged perpetrator was banned and we have an open line of communication with the authorities to provide any data they require."
He said the live broadcast of the incident was ended immediately after the site was notified and that Stickam is investigating the handling of the incident by site monitors.
Christopher Stone, co-owner and administrator of StickyDrama.com, said his site never posted the video, contrary to what authorities said in court documents. But Stone said he recorded the Stickam broadcast because he recognized it as a crime and turned it over to Phoenix police.
Stone said Hock became known in online circles for various live broadcasts on Stickam, such as dancing to electronic music, masturbating and having sex.
"He's a very popular entertainer online," he said. "They're trapped in Iowa with nothing else to do, they're going to watch him."
Holmes said police learned of the February broadcast from the woman, who found out about it from friends who had seen it.
"This is terrible, and this is what I'll say about the Internet and cell phones and texting and sexting and Twittering and blogging — this is very, very dangerous," Holmes said. "I really, really hate to say this, and this sounds bad, but a situation like this is inevitable the way things have been going."
He said the woman is "humiliated, she's embarrassed." Holmes said he's not sure whether Hock's girlfriend knew about his online life.
Parry Aftab, founder and executive director of WiredSafety.org, a New York-based cyber-neighborhood watch group, said she had never heard of someone broadcasting a sexual assault of an adult live on the Internet.
"I'm surprised it has taken this long," said Aftab, also an Internet privacy and security lawyer.
She said many teens and young people have become addicted to their "15 megabytes of fame" and are actors in their own reality show.
"They're willing to take a risk, and often the shiny aspects of, 'I'm going to be famous, everyone is going to think I'm cool, people are going to notice me,' outweighs the 'Gee, it's probably not a good idea to rape somebody,"' she said. "And that's the problem — it's almost like a drug. It's the fame that keeps on giving every time somebody downloads it."
Aftab said although the broadcast of the alleged sexual assault is no longer on Stickam.com, it will always be available online somewhere.
"Once somebody grabs it, it moves," she said. "It's like trying to catch a river in your hand."
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