Shefights website challenges suit brought by homeless men - WFLA News Channel 8

Shefights website challenges suit brought by homeless men

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By Peter Bernard, José Patiño Girona

A circuit judge in Pinellas County on Wednesday ruled the operator of shefights.net was in default for not responding to a civil lawsuit against the site on time.

But the website's operator, Jeffrey Williams, said he now has hired famed civil rights and First Amendment attorney Luke Lirot to challenge the lawsuit.

"I don't own the site," Williams said. "I have some ability to maintain it, but I have absolutely no interest, desire or intention to remove anything from the site."

The website features scantily clad women beating up men. In some cases, the men are homeless and have agreed not to fight back. If they last 12 minutes, they are paid $50. Two homeless men have sued alleging violations of Florida's Hate Crimes Act.

According to the lawsuit, some of the beatings took place in the garage of a town home at 73 16th Ave. S., across the street from Tropicana Field.

The homeless men said they suffered pain and injury as a result of the beatings sustained in the fights.

The judge ordered Williams not to destroy the tapes of the fights.

Williams said there are no videos on the website.

"We have videos but they aren't on the sites," Williams said. "They never were. Nothing is sold on the sites. They are informational sites."

But an attorney for the Southern Legal Counsel, which filed the lawsuit, disputes Williams' claim.

"It just troubles me that people would put other people through this," said attorney Neil Chonin.

If Williams had decided not to challenge the default ruling, the judge would have decided the amount Williams owed the plaintiffs.


pbernard@wfla.com

(813) 221-5788

jpatino@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7659

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