Non-consensual nude photos and video shared online results in 15 month sentence for Hamilton man
Published October 26, 2023 at 12:29 pm
A Hamilton man will spend more than a year behind bars after taking nude photos and videos of women without their consent and uploading them to his Pornhub account.
Michael Mikhail, 30, pled guilty to three counts of “surreptitiously making a visual recording of a person for a sexual purpose, in circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy” and a fourth count of “distributing an intimate image of a former intimate partner without her consent.” The first three did not know Mikhail, while the fourth was an ex-girlfriend.
The court heard that Mikhail operated a Pornhub account under the name “Mikhail Rails.” According to Justice Joe Fiorucci, Mikhail uploaded “countless” videos of these women to the account, often featuring sexually derogatory comments.
Mikhail dated his ex-girlfriend from July to October 2016. During this time, he took numerous photos of her naked and while the pair engaged in sexual activities. He took the pictures while the couple was in his bedroom and his girlfriend had “a full expectation of privacy,” per Fiorucci. She did not consent to any photos being taken.
Later, Mikhail uploaded these images to his Pornhub account under the title, “Found my ex’s nude.” The victim did not learn of the video’s existence until 2020, when a friend let her know.
In the second case, Mikhail recorded an employee at a GoodLife Fitness gym at 640 Queenston Rd. on March 7, 2020. While the employee was performing a set on a weightlifting machine, Mikhail secretly recorded her, zooming in on her buttocks.
The employee noticed Mikhail filming her and alerted her fellow staff. Mikhail fled the gym. He uploaded his footage to his Pornhub account titled, “Smoke show blonde with fat ass candid!!…I get caught at the end.”
“What used to be a place where I felt most confident, strong and safe, into a place where I now feel intimidated, scared, and vulnerable,” the employee told the court, “a place where I feel exposed, uncomfortable and untrusting of the people around me.”
“The violation is unspeakable, the uneasiness is unimaginable, and the trauma is irreversible…You used my body for your own personal gain against my will and without my knowledge. You exploited me on a pornographic website to thousands of people to use for your own and their own sexual satisfaction.” – Goodlife gym employee.
The third case occurred at the same Goodlife Fitness in February 2020, shortly before the incident with the employee. The victim was a 17-year-old customer of the gym. Mikhail recorded the teen during an exercise in which she laid down on her stomach. The court heard he zoomed in on the victim’s breasts as she laid down, propped up by her elbows.
He wasn’t caught at the time and the teen was unaware she had been recorded. He uploaded the video online as “Sexy teen with great cleavage!!” The girl’s mother was alerted to the existence of the video on March 9.
“I was 17 at the time you decided to sexualize and objectify my body for the entire internet to see,” the teen told the court, “I just started going to the gym, starting to learn how to not be insecure in my own skin. As much as I don’t want to give you the power, you took so much from me.”
After Mikhail was caught on March 7, word began to spread that a man was recording women in the Queenston Road GoodLife and posting the videos to Pornhub. The fourth victim found an Instagram post describing the incidents and found two videos of herself on the Mikhail Rails account. These clips were taken and posted in October 2019.
While Mikhail was charged only in these four cases, he admitted to the court that he recorded five other women in the GoodLife. After Mikhail was caught, he reached out to a fifth woman he had recorded and posted to Pornhub on Instagram. He told this woman he was innocent and was “being targeted as a scumbag on social media” because his name was the same as the account.
The other women also learned they had been secretly recorded and posted on Mikhail’s account with various unsavoury titles. Each was filmed between late 2019 and March 2020 when the employee caught him. Mikhail was charged on March 11, 2020.
The court heard Mikhail, now 30, comes from a closely-knit family and had a positive upbringing. He’s unemployed and continues to live with his parents. He is engaged to a woman he met in Feb. 2020 during his recording spree. The couple formally began dating in June 2020 after he was caught. She has supported him throughout the court process. He had no prior criminal history.
“Mikhail described his actions as ‘stupid’ and ‘sickening’ and told the probation and parole officer that he has a sexual infatuation with the buttocks of attractive females,” Fiorucci wrote” “He went on to say that ‘he would never seek out a victim but, if by circumstance, he was attracted to a victim, he felt the need to video them.'”
During the proceeding, Mikhail was examined by several mental health experts and found to have a sex addiction. He has been in treatment with an anonymous support group since spring 2021.
In determining Mikhail’s sentence, Fiorucci weighed the fact that “Mikhail’s moral blameworthiness is high. He violated the sexual integrity of multiple women by using his cell phone as a weapon” against his contrition, guilty pleas and personal circumstances.
He concluded Mikhail will serve 15 months in jail followed by two years of probation. During this probationary period, he’ll be banned from all GoodLife Fitness locations and from accessing Pornhub.inthehammer's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising