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Friday 18 August 2017

Playboy model handed community service for secret snap in gym changing room

Dani Mathers leaves Los Angeles County Superior Court after pleading no contest to the charges (AP)
Dani Mathers leaves Los Angeles County Superior Court after pleading no contest to the charges (AP)

A Playboy centrefold has been ordered to clean up graffiti as punishment for secretly taking a photo of a naked 71-year-old woman in a changing room and posting it online with a mocking comment.

Dani Mathers pleaded no contest to a charge of invasion of privacy in Los Angeles County Superior Court for the case that sparked outrage over the incident of so-called body shaming.

Mathers, 30, had previously apologised for taking the photo at an LA Fitness club in July and posting it on Snapchat with the caption: "If I can't unsee this then you can't either."

The posting was accompanied by a selfie of Mathers in a tank top with her hand over her mouth as if she is gasping in horror.

The 2015 Playmate of the Year said she intended to send the photo privately to a friend and accidentally posted it publicly.

She was relieved to put the case behind her and was grateful to be spared a jail term, defence lawyer Thomas Mesereau said outside court.

"She really apologises from the bottom of her heart for what happened," he said. "She never thought this would come out like this. Never intended to hurt anyone."

Mr Mesereau blamed prosecutors for doing more damage to the victim by giving the case worldwide attention.

"There's a word for that and the word is baloney," Los Angeles city attorney Mike Feuer replied when asked about that claim.

"Body shaming can devastate its subject. People are mocked, they're humiliated and in ways they can never fully get back."

After the case arose, Mr Feuer sponsored legislation that would enhance penalties of the existing privacy invasion law to add penalties for distributing partially or fully nude images without consent. The bill passed the state Senate this week.

Under terms of the plea, Mathers will be on probation for three years and must not take photos or video of people or post them online without their permission and cannot have a camera in places where people are naked or expect privacy.

Defence lawyer Dana Cole earlier argued unsuccessfully that the charge should be dismissed because the victim could not easily be identified.

The woman, who has not been named publicly, was humiliated when she learned about the photo, deputy city attorney Chadd Kim said.

Mathers was ordered to pay her 60 dollars (£46) to replace a backpack seen in the photo so she would not easily be identified.

The woman was not in court on Wednesday .

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