Photographer Convicted of Rape and Jailed for 21 Years After Running a Model Agency Scam

Photographer Convicted of Rape and Jailed for 21 Years After Running a Model Agency Scam

A photographer who ran model casting scams under a disguise of a fake model agency was jailed for 21 years after being found guilty of 15 rapes and 5 counts of voyeurism.

Paul Brown, also known as using the false name Paul Smart, from Devon, England, set up a bogus modeling agency named Models South West that lured in aspiring female models for casting shoots. Aged between late teens all the way to their 60s, these women were led to believe that they could become models if they took their clothes off and had sex with Brown in front of a camera. This abuse of trust and consent continued for a period of five years, and many of the women were vulnerable, thus making them more susceptible to this abuse.

"A compulsive liar and fantasist," Brown used his fake model agency as a smokescreen to contact and convince women they had what it takes to become professional models. Under this con, Brown hid any personal connections to this agency, although he was the one running it, to invite models for a test shoot at his studio. Using flattery, deceit, and promises that were never going to come in fruition, Brown pushed models to go past what they were comfortable doing. He would assure these women that they could have a successful career in the adult entertainment industry so long as they stripped down for a nude shoot or had sex with him. 

Brown also photographed women's genitals without their consent, installed a camera in the bathroom of his home to spy on a female visitor, did not pay any of the models the money he had promised, and kept a written record of his "sexual conquests" in a "black book," which contained details of some of the women he had raped. He even went as far as scoring each of his victims on a scale out of ten; his own wife scored a nine out of ten. 

This continued until one of the rape victims went to a legitimate modeling shoot with a professional photographer and realized that what Brown had done to her was sexual assault. She went to the police in 2017 to report it. This was then followed by his arrest and a seizure of the black book containing sensitive information about his victims. The investigation involved 16 victims and took two years to complete. DC Northcott, the officer in charge of this investigation, thanked all victims for being brave and coming forward to speak about Brown's abuse, as well as for their patience in seeing this investigation through to the end. All of the victims are receiving automatic anonymity for life, while Brown has been described as "one of the most prolific sex offenders in the history of Devon and Cornwall Police."

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37 Comments

vik .'s picture

Good.

Leigh Miller's picture

So....I'm just gonna say it.

Anyone who takes off their clothing and has sex in order to become a model needs their head checked. If you wanna be an adult entertainer that's one thing...but a model??

Where are the parents in all this?

"Late teens - 60's."
Learn to read :D

Leigh Miller's picture

Moron.

Obviously I meant people in their teens. My parents would never have let my sisters attend a photoshoot without being sure of what was going on.

And if a person is 60 and getting nude for a modelling career that's even more sad.

Anete Lusina's picture

From reading about this case, the biggest issue was that these women were vulnerable and he took advantage of it. I can't diagnose these women or anything but the way I saw this was that this was a power play, and he knew he had the power over them. I have been in a situation where a photographer tried a similar scenario on me but I was in a good mental space at the time and was able to stand up for myself.

> Obviously I meant people in their teens...My parents would never have let my sisters attend a photoshoot without being sure of what was going on.

The article said "LATE teens." In this context that means people 18 to 19. There's no reason to believe that the rapist shot with anyone younger than that. 18 and 19 year olds don't necessarily live with their parents, genius.

Leigh Miller's picture

Late teens isn't a hard line. That could be 15 to 19

Again you and all the rest spare me the FAKE outrage. https://youtu.be/7e9C-VX6GfE

And this takes place in many professions. Criminal takes advantage of the weak minded.

> Late teens isn't a hard line. That could be 15 to 19

It "could be" if you're an idiot, yes. Does the article say that the guy was charged with having sex with any one under age? No, which he certainly would have been if he had committed the offense. Making arguments based on unproven assumptions is stupid; making arguments based on assumptions that are contradicted by the facts is much, much stupider.

(If you're going to victim blame, don't expect people to be shy about pointing out your failings.)

Travis Alex's picture

Nice victim blaming.

Josh Thomas's picture

Nice white-knighting.

Rob Davis's picture

Please don’t work with women if you think this is “white-knighting.”

> Nice white-knighting.

Incel in the house!

liliumva's picture

Leigh,you're victim blaming. Coercion and manipulation is the biggest problem that you're forgetting. Most people would see a situation like this and say similar to what you have. But the issue with thinking like that is there are vulnerable, impressionable people in this world that would be naive to assume that sleeping with someone would give them a leg up or a door opened into this industry. In fact, I dare say it's a common knowledge in every industry that you hear some sort of talk about screwing your way up the ladder, though the majority of people *don't* do it. However, it does not negate the fact that it does happen, and to vulnerable people that do not grasp the situation they're putting themselves in. With that said, regardless of their naivety. this photographer is a predator and his manipulation has caused over a dozen lives to be changed forever.

So based on what you are saying and the article, they can rationalize sleeping with someone as long as they get what they want but the minute they realize they aren't going to get ahead they say its rape?

That is nearly as bad as the photographer preying on them to begin with in my book. You say impressionable but that is very hard to believe with all the Weinstein, Cosby, MeToo things going on in the news now days. It would be almost impossible especially for someone interested in modeling not to know about these things and be aware.

Not to mention at what point does a red light go off when your photographer wants to have sex or makes a move on you?

Rob Davis's picture

It’s called “rape by deception.” The consent was conditional and those conditions were deliberately misrepresented. Therefore, no consent equals rape.

> You say impressionable but that is very hard to believe with all the Weinstein, Cosby, MeToo things going on in the news now days.

A common factor among misogynists is stupidity. Eg this one hasn't worked out that if the investigation took 2 years, plus more time for the court case, plus five years of offenses, then we're largely talking about the time before Weinstein and Me Too. And a lot of people in the UK barely know who Cosby is, genius.

liliumva's picture

Paul, are you really suggesting that the over dozen accounts of rape/sexual assault are because these women did not get ahead? It is truly astounding that you're victim blaming too and not holding this predator accountable for his actions.

Did you skim over the article or go straight to comments? Because you must have missed the part where this man coerced these women, RECORDED them without their consent, kept a book of sexual conquests... I mean, really? It's all the models fault, right? Absurd.

It's hard to believe in this day of age because of what's gone on? Oh hunny, no. I've talked with new models that have been preyed upon by GWCs in the last year.One that thought a photographer was really good, turns out he was stealing work from another photographer in Washington to use to scam girls. She didn't know about things like this because she was NEW and was not in any safety groups. But it's her fault right? Not the predator photographer who tried to rape her.

It isn't always common knowledge despite what you assume. Ignorance of knowledge does not negate what has been done to these women, or the hundreds or thousands that have been taken advantage of by predator photographers. What point should they realize it? Do you not understand what coercion and manipulation are?

Anete Lusina's picture

So true! Thing is it can happen so easily. For example, I know a girl who's a great model and she was booked for a bondage shoot. All was well and happy (and safe) until later on when photographer tied her to the bed and stood over her and 'accidentally' fell on her. Or, someone I shot with who I thought was quite well mannered and professional, turns out he put a different model in a very uncomfortable position by trying to convince her to sleep with him if he pays extra. I always thought I am a very strong and confident person who doesn't let anyone take blatant advantage of me but even I was put in a position where we had done the shoot, I enjoyed myself and gelled with the photographer and then suddenly he's sat next to me with his hand running between my legs. The total shock you experience can paralyse you. It's not as easy as 'well you should not be shooting then' or 'you were modelling nude so what did you expect'....

liliumva's picture

It happened to me when I first modeled decades ago as well, I was assaulted by a photographer. This photographer had done it before, not only to me, which I found out later after talking to a friend of a friend that modeled for him. I was a silly 18 year old that wanted to be an alt model back when Suicide Girls was brand new and worth it. He was so sweet, so kind and helpful to me prior to the shoot and things turned for the worst during it. I'm not going to get more into it than this, but let's just say that event has plagued me for nearly 20 years. It is the reason I dropped being a model and the reason I am so concerned about model safety.

When I shoot a model I even ask if I can fix clothing straps, or if I can move hair when adding accessories.I ask if they are comfortable before, during and after the shoot. Safety and well being is so darn key when working with any model. The fact that a lot of male photographers do not grasp how manipulative predators are in this industry and how easily they can coerce a model into sex,male or female,and threaten them with violence if they speak up /threats of ruining their career... it shows who really has their head in the sand.

A lot of male photographers are just creepy idiots who buy a camera because it gives them a chance to creep. And a lot more are cretins who contribute to the problem by eg not allowing escorts.

Crystal, I'm not suggesting anything. From your own written text above you said ***"But the issue with thinking like that is there are vulnerable, impressionable people in this world that would be naive to assume that sleeping with someone would give them a leg up or a door opened into this industry" ****

I am willing to agree that there are vulnerable people in the world. I'm also willing to agree there are impressionable people in the world but what you seem to be saying is these women were naive and believed that somehow if they slept with the photographer they would be given a leg up. Which you verbatim stated.

This implies forethought and complicity. Which all I'm saying is, if that is the case and I'm not saying it is but you are implying that it was makes the women almost as guilty as the photographer for thinking they could get away with it and being impressionable and naive had nothing to do with it.

Tom Reichner's picture

Leigh,

I don't understand why you said, "where are the parents in all of this." I don't believe that there were any minors - at all - among his victims. "Late teens", meaning 18 and 19 year olds, are completely adults in the eyes of society and the law. When people come "of age" and are legal adults, their parents don't, and shouldn't, watch over their every move.

Leigh Miller's picture

What's the legal drinking age in the USA?

Completely adults?? give me a break. None of us were complete adults at that age.

> Completely adults?? give me a break. None of us were complete adults at that age.

And indeed, you don't seem to be now. Eg you don't allow for facts that contradict your argument, like eg not every 19 year old lives at home with her parents...

Tom Reichner's picture

There were no minors among his victims.

I helped a few aspiring models to start their portfolios.

Some wanted to show up by themselves. Regardless of their age, I told them that I would not accept an appointment unless a parent (for those under 18) or a friend came along. I never undertook the photo shoot without those stipulations and I also had either my wife or a photo assistant there with me.

The family or friend is always in the room with us during the duration of the photo shoot as well.

All models are also instructed that they are in complete control and anything they are not comfortable with, we will not do or find an alternative.

It is safer for all involved if we demand common sense safeguards before the process even begins.

Chris Jones's picture

I love when models ask if they can bring a friend along, it usually makes for a funner shoot to have someone they're comfortable with and they don't mind holding a reflector or light stand up.

liliumva's picture

This is why we have safety groups, black lists/call out pages, and why escorts for models are so important regardless of the shoot. This is something that still continues to happen, despite what some photographers think that have their head in the sand,it just does not come to light as often unless it's serial like this, or big names like Marcus Hyde.

The culture on sites like Model Mayhem and Purple Port is extremely against escorts. The idiots there give the most ridiculous reasons - eg fear of camera gear being violentlly stolen. Which is stupid beyond belief, because if the model was fronting for a thief then he'd just turn up, permission or not.

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