California prosecutors are trying to break new ground in the state’s campaign against online revenge porn.

Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, will face multiple felony charges for his alleged role as owner and operator of the website ugotposted.com, San Diego County Superior Court Judge David M. Gill ruled on Monday.

“This is the first time a website operator will face criminal charges relating to revenge porn,” Nick Pacilio, press secretary for California Attorney General Kamala Harris, told the Daily Dot in an email. “The preliminary hearing took longer than usual as the judge requested additional presentation of evidence and legal argument from our lawyers, as this is a new/novel case.”

Though California made revenge porn a misdemeanor in a law passed last October, the state is pursuing more serious charges against Bollaert, who is said to have voluntarily shut down ugotposted when he learned that investigators were onto him, which happened to be several weeks before California’s revenge porn law passed.

Bollaert was eventually arrested last December and charged with 28 counts of identity theft, two counts of extortion and one count of conspiracy. Investigators say Bolleart not only ran ugotposted.com but also changemyreputation.com, through which victims could pay anywhere from $250 to $350 to have their photos removed from ugotposted.

Investigators say victims of ugotposted faced harassment because contributors to the site were required to include links to the victims’ social media profiles. One victim wrote that she was "scared for [her] life" in an email requesting her photos be removed from the site, according to court documents.

Though this may be the first criminal case, Bollaert has already faced civil charges for his transgressions. Earlier this year, a federal district judge ordered Bollaert and Eric Chason, who allegedly co-founded ugotposted, to pay $385,000 to an unnamed victim of the site.

Bollaert already pleaded not guilty in January, but he will be arraigned at a hearing that is scheduled for July 16. Unless Bollaert changes his plea, this case will go to trial at a later date.

In a case similar to that of Bollaert in many ways, California is also seeking to prosecute Casey Meyering, the alleged operator of the revenge porn site WinByState. Meyering was arrested in Oklahoma in February, and extradited to California several weeks ago, the Associated Press reports

Remixed photo via flyzor/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)