An upstate New York district attorney's office shared child pornography of a young influencer having sex before she was brutally murdered to the press in violation of federal law, a bombshell new lawsuit claimed.
Bianca Devins — the 17-year-old victim from Utica who had a popular online following — was reportedly killed in July 2019 by Brandon Clark, a friend she met two months prior, in his car after a concert. Before Brandon butchered the young girl, he was said to have set up a camera in his SUV so he could record the two having sex. Right after, Brandon slit her throat as she begged for her life, according to the report.
Clark, 21, also took selfies beside Bianca's lifeless body and shared the content online. He was reportedly prosecuted by Oneida District Attorney’s Office, which used the video as their primary evidence in putting Brandon behind bars. He pleaded guilty in February of last year to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Bianca's mom, Kimberly Devins, had feared the day the video would go viral, but she was reportedly assured by two Oneida prosecutors that the clip would never get out. However, she later found out the office reportedly shared them with CBS 48 Hours, A&E, a confidante of Clark with a popular YouTube channel and possibly MTV and Peacock TV.
“When confronted, Assistant District Attorneys Sarah DeMellier and Michael Nolan admitted the DA’s office had shared the content,” the suit, filed in the Northern District of New York, stated. “Kimberly was shattered that her daughter’s murder video and sex video had been released.”
The prosecutors office also reportedly shared nude photos of Bianca that were obtained from her phone, which was taken from the scene of the crime. Kimberly and her counsel approached the office on the matter, but the office said New York's child porn laws didn't apply to Bianca because she was 17 at the time of her death, according to the report, and therefore, had a right to release the footage.
Kimberly's argument didn't stick, leading her to file a lawsuit against the DA's office.
“It hurts my heart and confuses my brain that a 17-year-old murder victim would be further abused by authorities who gave no damn about her privacy. Bianca will be vindicated here,” Carrie Goldberg, the attorney representing Bianca’s estate, said. Goldberg also stated that sexual material of anyone under the age of 18 is illegal.
The victim's mom said her daughter's death was her "worst nightmare" and is feeling the same way all over again after the video and photos were leaked, according to the outlet. Kimberly shamed the office for sharing the violent footage and not allowing her late daughter the privacy she deserved in her death.
“Our family is forced to live the violence over and over on social media because of what the murderer posted," Bianca' mom said, per the legal documents. "It’s unbearable that the ones who were supposed to protect Bianca – the DA’s Office – are instead engaging in child pornography as if she has no right to privacy."
While noting that Bianca's own family has yet to see the tape, she bashed the office for being "reckless and casual with who they provide [her] daughter’s private images and last living moments with; meanwhile they refuse to let her own family see the evidence.”
Kimberly has repeatedly asked for a copy of the videos but has been denied by the county, the suit alleged. “To date, Bianca’s own mother has not seen the horrifying videos of her daughter’s last moments on earth, she seemingly being the only one so restricted,” the lawsuit read, per New York Post.
Public officials don't usually release disturbing footage for the sake of the victim's family members. Even if the evidence is deemed public, the harm of the content's release typically outweighs the public's interest, which usually results in officials withholding the information or attempting to do so.
However, the DA's office admitted they didn't release the footage under the freedom of information law, the suit claims, meaning they willingly gave it to the media. They reportedly shared the evidence in order to gain favor after they were viewed in a negative light regarding an unrelated case.
“Upon information and belief, the DA’s Office saw the murder of Bianca Devins as the perfect opportunity for redemption in the media, and as a result, courted the press and documentary makers [by] enthusiastically turning over… illegal evidence to them that exploited Bianca’s privacy and rights, not to mention federal child pornography laws," the suit claimed.
Meanwhile, Bianca was previously a victim of child pornography when she was 15, two years before she was murdered. The crime reportedly sparked Brandon's jealousy and is what led to Bianca's ultimate death.
“Defendants’ actions were of particular cruelty in light of the trauma Bianca had endured from being a victim of child pornography starting at age fifteen,” read the suit. “For Defendants to continue the exploitation of Bianca is unconscionable.”