Man jailed in ‘revenge porn’ case

  • Gregory Payne, right, turns toward his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sherilyn Tavares, Thursday in Hilo Circuit Court. (JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald)

HILO — A 53-year-old Hilo man was ordered to report to jail Thursday to serve a six-month term he was sentenced to in October for engaging in so-called “revenge porn” against a woman with whom he had a prior sexual relationship.

Gregory William Payne pleaded no contest June 25 to first-degree violation of privacy, a class C felony. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped misdemeanor charges of trespassing on public school grounds and impersonating a public servant.

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The jail term is part of a four-year sentence of court supervision. Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto allowed Payne a deferred acceptance of his no contest plea, which means the conviction will be expunged from Payne’s record if he stays out of further trouble during the supervisory period.

On Jan. 1, 2016, Payne, then a substitute teacher, engaged in consensual sex with the woman on the grounds of E.B. de Silva Elementary School outside school hours. He also photographed the woman during the encounter without her permission while she was blindfolded.

Payne then signed the name of a Department of Education official on a letter written on DOE letterhead and sent it to a professional associate of the woman — and included a photo or photos of the sexual encounter.

Payne’s actions violated a 2014 expansion of violation of privacy laws that address revenge porn. The expansion includes “knowingly disclosing an image or video of another identifiable person either in the nude or engaging in sexual conduct without the consent of the depicted person with intent to harm substantially the depicted person.”

“Today, I finally received long awaited closure and can now continue my healing journey,” the victim said in an email following the hearing.

The Tribune-Herald isn’t publishing the name of the woman, identified only by initials in charging documents.

The woman said Payne sent similar letters and photographs as the one for which he was sentenced to about 30 individuals, including other professional associates and the woman’s children and a sibling.

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Payne originally was indicted on 37 charges in March 2017, including 19 felony invasion of privacy charges. Those charges were later dismissed due to a legal technicality, and Payne was subsequently charged with the single felony he pleaded to, plus the two misdemeanor charges dropped as part of the plea deal.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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