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.”