Petrovic motioned twice to terminate Stenger. He even filed a complaint to the Missouri Supreme Court's Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. Neither tactic gained any traction.

The trial began on November 15, 2011.

"You're not going to walk away from this trial thinking that you just saw the movie The Notebook, I can tell you that," Stenger told the jurors in his opening statement.

Stenger tried to portray Megan as an equal partner in much of their drama and someone who exploited Petrovic for his money.

"No one is really ever the total monster, and in this case, no one is ever really the total victim," Stenger said. "That's just not reality. Things don't happen like that."

As for the erotic pictures, some of which Megan consented to, Stenger said: "When you pose for a picture naked, those things can obviously be shared.... That can absolutely, positively happen, and it's just a common fact of life. We all know it can.... If you don't want that picture being presented to other people, then, by God, don't take it."

Stenger tells RFT that his objective was not to blame the crime victim, but rather to point out the risk inherent in any exchange of texts and photos. Even so, experts on Internet law say that all too often, those targeted in revenge porn are unfairly vilified.

"Boxers do not consent to being punched in the face as they walk down the street just because they get punched inside a boxing ring," writes Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami, on the legal blog Concurring Opinions. "If you can't punch a boxer in the face when he asks you for directions, why can you take a pornographic picture intended for private use and distribute it publicly without consent?"

In the end, the jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Petrovic guilty on four counts of stalking and two counts of making an extortionate threat. (They acquitted him of using the U-Haul as a dangerous weapon.)

At his sentencing on Februrary 15, 2012, Petrovic wore an orange sweatshirt under orange prison scrubs. He looked frail, wore reading glasses and listened to a German interpreter through headphones.

District Judge Henry Autrey asked if he had anything to say. "A lot," he replied. In a rambling speech he blamed a private attorney who'd advised him early on that his site was protected speech; he blamed Steve Stenger; he even blamed Patrick Coyne, the municipal judge from St. Charles County who had testified during trial that he thought the site was illegal after first glimpsing it at the Memorial Day barbecue.

Petrovic felt that this statement, uttered in open court by a legal authority, improperly skewed the jury.

But it was District Judge Henry Autrey who had the last word — and it was scathing.

In Autrey's view, Petrovic blamed everyone but himself. "If you were fourteen or fifteen," the judge said, "I could have appreciation for that."

He continued: "The Internet, isn't it a wonderful thing?.... Nobody can really see us as we slink and stalk and covet on the Internet, and it's kind of fun."

But there are limits, he argued. "The First Amendment doesn't protect criminal conduct. Make no mistake about that."

The government had requested an 87-month sentence. Autrey gave Petrovic 96 months in prison.

The judge concluded: "You are responsible for everything you did in this case."


Petrovic appealed his conviction right away. On February 19, 2013, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals effectively upheld it. Petrovic no longer wants to work with Stenger and says that he plans to file his own petition with the United States Supreme Court before the deadline in May.

If that fails, he'll remain incarcerated until at least 2017. He's now seeking a transfer to a German prison.

At the close of his March 2012 interview with Riverfront Times, Petrovic sketched out his romantic history. He claimed to have been married five times total. (He used to call Megan "Mambo Number Five.")

Asked whether any of his wives had remarried, he leaned back in his chair. "Every wife who is married to me will never marry again," he said. "Because no husband will be better than me."

Before heading back into jail, Petrovic allowed the RFT to photograph a few of the pictures of Megan he'd brought with him. Petrovic's photos were later confiscated when he was transferred to federal prison in North Carolina. Petrovic has since written to the RFT on multiple occasions asking for the copies of the photos.

"I cannot get this woman out of my mind," he wrote in one e-mail.

On February 21, 2013, he again asked Riverfront Times for the pictures of Megan. Asked why he still wanted them, he wrote back: "She was my wife, and I still, somehow, love and miss her." 

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9 comments
guelsmann
guelsmann

Hi Calvin,

thank you for your answer. My English is not the best one but I try always my best for a good understanding.I can´t open the link and hope you a writing in the reference of Jovica Petrovic.
He did the same in Germany with her wife in Hamburg (Gabriela Bleeke), later with me here in Spain.I sent him 3 times in a jail but nobody was interested to jugde him here in Spain.
I have made some ads, for example, Attempted murder, forgery and stalking.
This person has to be in a jail for the life time, because he never will end with such bad stories. 
Since this time I can´t have any relationship. It´s a sad life, but what should I do.
Perhaps it would be the best way, if I knew that he would have no chance to be released. I would like to sit in front of him just 5 minutes without any words.
It's been anything more than 14 years, but it still hurts. The court has probably already stored the files. Should I make copies of them? Can you submit to the judge this yet?
Would be great to hear something about you.
Best regards
Gabriela Ülsmann

guelsmann
guelsmann

I know him, because he made similar bad stories with me. He should be in the prison forever.

tlslyder
tlslyder

This guy is probably a sociopath. Me and my fiance have been living with something similar to what this guy has done, except without the porn videos that have never existed. It has been continuing for over the last 5 years now. Very, very similar cases a with both of us having restraining orders against this guy and an indirect criminal contempt on him also. These type of people just won't quit unless they're put into jail, then when they get out, they will be back doing it again. They're too warped in the head to have enough sense to grow up and walk away, and to stop the stupid nonsense. Very eerily similar in these stories and I'm sure there are more out there.

smeagol_jr
smeagol_jr

He isn't  a "Sext Fiend".  He's a textbook PSYCHOPATH.

Moonstuck
Moonstuck

WHERE IS THE REVENGE PORN? LINK TO IT! YOU MENTIONED REVENGE PORN!

KITTY
KITTY

Great pot boiler, Nick, one of your best. What a story. I can just picture that 7 yr. old boy seeing a pic of mommy sucking a stranger's dick and what he must of thought. That's an image that will stay with him for life. And he will also remember how his daddy explained his way out of it. That image is the funniest of all. Your telling of the scandalous pix sent to her favorite restaurant had me laughing so hard I could hardly stop. Let your mind wonder a wee bit and think about what the restaurant staff thought about her when the saw the pix.  Then the story spread like wild fire. Think she will ever go back? 

By the way, since you have stopped writing regularly, readership of the RFT has fallen by 43% and advertising revenues have plummeted by 60%! You are sorely missed.

BarnMD
BarnMD

@KITTY 

Kitty, I have to wonder what in a person would make someone think that anopther person's abuse and trauma is funny.  Especially the trauma of a 7 year old child.  I'm definitely not a prig and have a rather bent sense of humor myself, but to me, the description of that event was a little horrifying.  What the hell is wrong with you?

 
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