ATLANTE – A DeKalb County judge determined the state had provided enough evidence to prosecute Eligio Bishop, an alleged sex cult leader, for rape and forcible confinement.
Bishop is accused of raping a woman who tried to leave the so-called sect. Authorities also claim, without his permission, that he posted videos on Twitter of the two men having sex before the alleged rape. Bishop’s accuser said he was doing it out of revenge.
Twitter, which recently changed hands and is under the leadership of billionaire Elon Musk, and its sensitive media policy play a key role in the case. Ultimately, DeKalb County Judge Phyllis Williams said whether or not the content of the videos violated Twitter’s Sensitive Media Policy will not be considered in determining whether the woman gave her consent.
PROSECUTOR PRESENTS EVIDENCE AGAINST ALLEGED SEXUAL CULTURE LEADER
“It surprised me that Twitter would allow such videos to be posted, but consent, as far as the law goes, doesn’t belong to Twitter, it belongs to the victim,” Williams said.
Twitter link to alleged sex cult leader, rape case
The woman Bishop allegedly raped, who FOX 5 Atlanta identifies as AV, claimed he posted sexually explicit videos of her on Twitter without her consent. Detectives watched three of the four videos showing the trailer having sex. Investigators sent a search warrant to Twitter, to which the social media platform reportedly did not respond.
Bishop allegedly posted other explicit videos, prosecutor Tabitha Pazmino said.
Detective Monica Panosian said Twitter allows limited sexually explicit video as long as the video is consensual and does not depict domestic violence.
AV told Detective Monica Panosian that they were part of a “sex cult” for three to four years and had lived with them on several occasions. AV told detectives that Bishop asked the women to physically hit her when she tried to leave. The detective said leaving the group left the woman feeling guilty.
Bishop became furious when she came back inside to say goodbye. AV told investigators she “begged” to leave before Bishop raped her, saying there were no “multiple times.”
Panosian said most members of Bishop’s cult would not speak to investigators.
AV told detectives she changed her phone number, deleted social media and stopped communicating with members of the suspected cult after she left.
What is Twitter’s policy on sexually explicit content?
Twitter allows users to post different types of sexually explicit, violent and hateful content.
This content is sometimes blocked with a blurry thumbnail and a warning in front of it, based on a user security settings.
There are criteria Twitter uses to determine if content is sexually explicit:
- “total or partial nudity, including close-ups of genitals, buttocks or breasts”
- “simulated sexual acts”
- sexual intercourse or other sexual acts, including cartoons, hentai, or cartoons “involving humans or depictions of animals with human characteristics”
Twitter said some educational or “artistic” nudity does not fall under its definition of adult content.
Twitter Sensitive Media Policy states that the content must have been shared consensually and cannot depict domestic violence.
Twitter allows anyone to report content that appears to include non-consensual nudity. Twitter says it immediately and permanently suspends users who violate the policy.
How does Twitter determine that sexual content has been posted without consent?
Twitter lists some examples of the types of content that violate its non-consensual nudity policy:
- hidden camera content featuring nudity, partial nudity and/or sexual acts
- “creepshots” or “upskirts”
- images or videos that superimpose or digitally manipulate an individual’s face onto another person’s naked body
- images or videos taken in an intimate setting and not intended for public distribution
- offer a bounty or financial reward in exchange for intimate images or videos
- videos with text that makes the content look vengeful in context
In less obvious cases, like the videos in Bishop’s rape case, it’s unclear how Twitter would determine if a video was posted in a consensual fashion.