HARTFORD, Conn. — ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was secretly videotaped in the nude while she was alone in a hotel room, and the video was posted on the Internet, her attorney said.
The blurry, five-minute video shows Andrews standing in front of a hotel room mirror. It’s unknown when or where it was shot.
Andrews’ attorney, Marshall Grossman, confirmed Tuesday that the video posted on the Internet shows the 31-year-old reporter. He said she decided to confirm it “to put an end to rumor and speculation and to put the perpetrator and those who are complicit on notice that they act at their peril.”
Andrews plans to seek criminal charges and file civil lawsuits against the person who shot the video and anyone who publishes the material, Grossman said.
“While alone in the privacy of her hotel room, Erin Andrews was surreptitiously videotaped without her knowledge or consent,” Grossman said in an earlier statement.
“She was the victim of a crime and is taking action to protect herself and help ensure that others are not similarly violated in the future.”
Andrews has covered hockey, college football, college basketball and Major League Baseball for the network since 2004, often as a sideline reporter during games.
A former dance team member at the University of Florida, Andrews was something of an Internet sensation even before the video’s circulation. She has been referred to as “Erin Pageviews” because of the traffic that video clips and photos of her generate, and Playboy magazine named her “sexiest sportscaster” in both 2008 and 2009.
She last appeared on the network as part of its ESPY Awards broadcast on Sunday, and is scheduled to be off until September, when she will be covering college football, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.
“Erin has been grievously wronged here,” Krulewitz said. “Our people and resources are in full support of her as she deals with this abhorrent act.”
It was not clear when the video first appeared on the Internet. Most of the links to it had been removed by Tuesday.
Several TV networks and newspapers aired brief clips or printed screen grabs of it Tuesday. Grossman responded to an e-mail question about whether he plans to go after those outlets by reiterating his statement that Andrews plans to seek civil charges against “anyone who has published the material.”
He would not say what law enforcement agencies might be investigating.
ESPN is based in Bristol, but Connecticut State Police were not involved in an investigation into the video, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a department spokesman. Vance said investigations into Internet crimes often begin in the victim’s home state or wherever the video was shot, if that can be determined.
A phone call to a listing for Andrews in Georgia went unanswered. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it not involved in any investigation of the video.
Video voyeurism laws vary from state to state. In Connecticut, it is considered a felony and can result in a prison sentence of up to five years, Vance said.
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said the FBI was not involved in the case, and was unsure if there was any federal jurisdiction.
Ephraim Cohen, a spokesman for the video portal Dailymotion, could not confirm the video had actually appeared on his company’s site, but said it may have been there months ago. He said a search for the name of the user who purportedly uploaded the video showed the person had opened an account in February, but had since closed it.
“As far as we can tell, the user took the account and the video down a while ago,” he said.
Illegal videos often are posted to multiple sites such as YouTube and Dailymotion, which remove them as soon as they are found. The videos also often circulate on peer-to-peer or file-sharing sites, much like illegal music downloads.
Graham Cluley, who writes a blog for the antivirus software maker Sophos, wrote that several links purporting to send Internet users to the Andrews video actually sent them to sites with malicious software and computer viruses.
He said the some of the hackers actually include a portion of the video on their sites, apparently hoping that the malware gets passed along as users share the link with friends.
“They keep on using (videos like this) because it works,” Cluley said. “If more people thought with their head rather than with their trousers, maybe less of these viruses would spread on our computers.”
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Krulewitz,the ESPNspokesman, said the network has decided not to cover the issue as a news story, “particularly since it has no bearing on her role as an on-air reporter.”