NY prosecutors shared sex and murder video of teen influencer, lawsuit claims

NY prosecutors shared sex and murder video of teen influencer, lawsuit claims

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An upstate New York district attorney’s office distributed child pornography of a teenage social media star — and video of her being murdered — to the press in violation of federal law, an explosive lawsuit filed Thursday claims. 

Bianca Devins was a 17-year-old Utica resident on her way to college in July 2019 when she was butchered by Brandon Clark, a friend she’d met online two months prior, in his SUV after a concert.

Clark set up a camera in his car so he could film the two having sex and, right after, the moment he slit her throat as she pleaded for her life.

The Cicero man, 21 at the time, also snapped selfies beside Devin’s dead body, shared the content online, and was later prosecuted by the Oneida District Attorney’s Office, which used the videos and images as their primary evidence to secure a guilty murder plea from him last year. 

Devins had a popular online following that skyrocketed after her murder and her mother Kimberly Devins had long feared the gruesome video of her daughter’s final moments would be released and go viral online, the federal suit, filed in the Northern District of New York, states. 

The mom was assured by two Oneida prosecutors the videos wouldn’t ever be released but to her “horror,” she later found out the office shared them with CBS 48 Hours, A&E, a confidante of Clark with a popular YouTube channel and possibly MTV and Peacock TV, the suit says. 

The office also shared nude images of Bianca Devins that were taken from her phone after it was seized from the murder scene, the suit claims. 

“When confronted, Assistant District Attorneys Sarah DeMellier and Michael Nolan admitted the DA’s office had shared the content,” the suit states. 

“Kimberly was shattered that her daughter’s murder video and sex video had been released.” 

Kimberly Devins told The Post her daughter’s death was her “worst nightmare” that two years later, feels like a horror film on repeat.

“Our family is forced to live the violence over and over on social media because of what the murderer posted. It’s unbearable that the ones who were supposed to protect Bianca – the DA’s Office – are instead engaging in child pornography as if she has no right to privacy,” the mom said.

“The DA’s office has been reckless and casual with who they provide my daughter’s private images and last living moments with; meanwhile they refuse to let her own family see the evidence.”

Typically, such imagery is not released by public officials out of respect for the deceased’s family members. Even if the evidence is considered public, the harm of the content’s release usually outweighs the public’s interest in seeing them, which leads most law enforcement agencies to withhold such information, or at least put up a fight before doing so.

The DA’s office said they didn’t release the content pursuant to freedom of information law, the lawsuit claims, which indicates they willingly handed it over.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the videos had been blurred or redacted in any way. 

Attorneys for Bianca Devins’ estate assert the Oneida DA’s office shared the content to curry favor after they were portrayed negatively in an unrelated case that was the subject of an NBC Dateline feature. 

“The Oneida County District Attorneys office was embarrassed by the media’s portrayal of its prosecution in the unrelated case of Kaitlyn Conley in the murder of Dr. Mary Yoder and regretted not defending itself in the 2018 [NBC] Dateline feature on the case,” the suit alleges, calling the office’s actions “unconscionable.” 

“Upon information and belief, the DA’s Office saw the murder of Bianca Devins as the perfect opportunity for redemption in the media, and as a result, courted the press and documentary makers [by] enthusiastically turning over… illegal evidence to them that exploited Bianca’s privacy and rights, not to mention federal child pornography laws.” 

When Kimberly Devins and her counsel confronted the office about it, they said New York’s child porn laws didn’t apply to Bianca Devins because she was 17 at the time of the murder so therefore, they had the right to disseminate her nude images and sex video. 

“Kimberly and her counsel specified federal child pornography laws apply to depictions of children under the age of 18 and also notwithstanding the law that Bianca, even in her death, had a right to sexual privacy,” the suit states. 

The argument fell on deaf ears, prompting the estate to file suit against the DA’s office, DA Scott McNamara and the county, which didn’t return requests for comment. 

Adding insult to injury, Bianca Devins had already been a victim of child pornography when she was 15 — a crime that sparked Clark’s jealousy and in part, led to her murder — and even in death, she couldn’t be relieved of the trauma associated with the act, the suit says. 

“Defendants’ actions were of particular cruelty in light of the trauma Bianca had endured from being a victim of child pornography starting at age fifteen,” the suit reads. 

“For Defendants to continue the exploitation of Bianca is unconscionable.” 

Further, Kimberly Devins requested a copy of the videos so she could see her daughter’s murder but in a confounding turn of events, she has repeatedly been stonewalled by the county, which is acting in retaliation, the suit alleges. 

“To date, Bianca’s own mother has not seen the horrifying videos of her daughter’s last moments on earth, she seemingly being the only one so restricted,” the lawsuit states. 

Carrie Goldberg, the attorney representing Bianca Devins’ estate, told The Post Oneida prosecutors “must be held responsible for distributing snuff films and child pornography featuring Bianca.”

“It hurts my heart and confuses my brain that a 17-year-old murder victim would be further abused by authorities who gave no damn about her privacy. Bianca will be vindicated here,” Goldberg, whose law firm focuses on sexual privacy violations, said.

“And the world should be on notice that even possessing sexual material of Bianca – or anybody under the age of 18 – is illegal.”

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