GREENVILLE, Ala. (WKRG) — An Alabama mother is suing the parent company of adult website Pornhub for allegedly allowing video and photos of her 12-year-old child being sexually assaulted by a Greenville man to be distributed on the website and “generating an astonishing 188,000 video views” despite authorities’ warning.

Pornhub is owned by MindGeek, a site where people can share, view and purchase streaming pornographic videos. The lawsuit alleges that Rocky Shay Franklin, 36, of Greenville, entered a contractual relationship with MindGeek, “to distribute illegal and sexually violent images of a minor for profit.”

The plaintiff, listed as CV1 Mother due to the sensitive nature of the allegations, filed the 78-page suit on Oct. 7 against Franklin, Pornhub’s parent company, MindGeek, and other foreign entities.

“Make no mistake — this lawsuit does not concern the voluntary act of consensual sex between adults, with the distribution occurring through their consent,” the lawsuit says. “The victims depicted in these images were obviously children. The dissemination of these videos to millions of viewers across the world continued notwithstanding law enforcement’s pleas to take them down because they contained child pornography.”

The lawsuit alleges that the MindGeek Defendants “are those entities who utilized their platform(s) in collaboration with Defendant Franklin to disseminate obvious images and videos of child molestation, thereby profiting from their dissemination.”

The lawsuit says that Franklin lived with the CV1 Mother and her minor children from about July 2018 to October 2018, during which time Franklin allegedly molested and raped at least two of those children, including a 12-year-old child.

“Franklin overpowered them, and in some instances, drugged them in order to victimize them while recording his acts of sexual violence,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Franklin “entered into an agreement and/or joint venture with the MindGeek defendants” and said he lived in Greenville. The lawsuit says the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency received 67 CyberTips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children associated with an email that the lawsuit says was tracked back to the same Greenville address Franklin listed on his Pornhub account.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice for the Middle District of Alabama, Franklin was sentenced to 480 months in prison “for sexual exploitation of a child, advertising child pornography, and distribution of child pornography.” The DOJ said an investigation into Franklin began in 2019 when law enforcement received tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about an IP address affiliated with a Greenville residence that was “associated with child porn activity.”

“During a plea hearing that took place on July 28, 2021, Franklin specifically admitted that in the summer of 2018, he used, induced, and enticed two minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction,” according to the DOJ.

“In addition, Franklin acknowledged that from May 30, 2019, through October 11, 2019, he uploaded multiple videos to a pornography website. Franklin did so from various locations in Greenville, Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama.  The videos contained visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Franklin advertised these files through the website and requested a monetary fee for distribution. Franklin also admitted to distributing child pornography on at least three occasions using various online accounts and platforms. First, on February 15, 2019, Franklin used a messenger app to send videos of two minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Then, on October 11, 2019, Franklin sent links to another individual knowing that the linked websites contained pornographic images and videos of children. Lastly, Franklin admitted that, on May 11, 2019, he knowingly transported child pornography, by uploading the files to one of his online accounts.”

Franklin pleaded guilty to two counts of the sexual exploitation of a child, one count of advertising child pornography, and two counts of distribution of child pornography. 

The lawsuit says law enforcement warned MindGeek defendants at least three times in November and December 2019 about the videos. The lawsuit says MindGeek did not remove those videos until Dec. 13, 2019. One video has generated 50,000 views by itself while another video was uploaded in 2019 and for sale for $15.

In a statement attributed to The Journal of Montreal and quoted in the Daily Wire, MindGeek told the Journal that the company was aware of the suit and has cooperate with authorities.

“We sympathize with all victims of abuse,” the company said in a statement to The Journal. “We have zero tolerance for illegal material.”

The lawsuit details how pornographic material is added to MindGeek websites, including Pornhub, and alleges that millions of images and videos are added to those platforms “with no attempt to verify the identification, age, or consent of the persons uploading or featured in them.” Further, the lawsuit alleges that MindGeek’s manner of curating information permits illegal content, including child abuse, to broadly circulate online.

“MindGeek’s aggressive data collection and traffic analytics mean that MindGeek knows exactly what users are looking for (and what exists) on their sites and that this includes sex trafficking material,” according to the lawsuit.

“This lawsuit concerns perhaps one of the most disturbing courses of conduct
imaginable: the exploitation of child molestation for profit,” the lawsuit reads. “The MindGeek Defendants are those entities who utilized their platform(s) in collaboration with Defendant Franklin to disseminate obvious images and videos of child molestation, thereby profiting from their dissemination.”

The lawsuit says Franklin uploaded 23 videos and gave MindGeek “a substantial financial benefit to the MindGeek Defendants in multiple ways, including advertising exposure and the driving of traffic for advertising revenue, fee-based subscription services, and the use and selling of user data.”

According to the lawsuit document, the child’s mother is seeking “damages and contends that the site’s actions violated federal and state laws dealing with child trafficking and exploitation.”

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division. According to the court filing, a jury trial is demanded.

Stay ahead of the biggest stories, breaking news and weather in Mobile, Pensacola and across the Gulf Coast and Alabama. Download the WKRG News 5 news app and be sure to turn on push alerts.