A federal judge on Monday upheld a $338,000 verdict against the website thedirty.com, saying the operator of the site “played a significant role” in developing the content that libeled Sarah Jones, a former Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleader. Jones, a former high school English teacher at Dixie Heights High School, later pleaded guilty to a sexual relationship with one of her students. She announced earlier this year she is engaged to marry the boy, who is now an adult.
U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman concluded that under the federal Communications Decency Act, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based gossip website and its founder, Hooman Karamian, are not exempt from responsibility for what is posted. Passed in 1995 by Congress, the law was designed in part to provide immunity to website publishers from liability for content that comes from third parties.
Karmamian, who uses the stage name of Nik Richie, said he will appeal.