Matt Hickey, pictured above, violated multiple state consumer protection laws when he ran a decade-long fake porn scam.
Matt Hickey, pictured above, is accused to have violated multiple state consumer protection laws when he ran a decade-long fake porn scam. Jason Redmond

If you never respond to a lawsuit that's been filed against you, the people suing you can win by default.

When the Washington State Attorney General sued former Capitol Hill tech journalist and fake porn recruiter Matt Hickey in December, Hickey failed to respond. On Thursday, a King County Superior Court judge agreed with a motion for default from the state, ruling that because Hickey didn't respond, he wouldn't be able to contest the state's allegations: that Hickey violated state consumer protection laws by pretending to be a female porn recruiter on the internet and luring young women into having sex with him.

The decision was the result of a motion for default—an automatic ruling from the court when a defendant fails to answer a civil complaint.

Hickey's lawyer, James Bible, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the judge's ruling.

In late December, the Washington State Attorney General's Office sued Hickey—who has separately been charged with three counts of rape—over the porn scam for multiple violations of state consumer protection laws. For more than a decade, Hickey posed online as a fake female porn recruiter named Deja Stwalley, and later a fake porn actress named Chrissy Baaten, in order to lure young, aspiring porn actresses to his apartment. There, Hickey, posing as the photographer in this enterprise, would have the young women have sex with him as part of the fake porn "audition." The state claimed that these actions—along with using the fake identities to obtain the women's personal information—violated the state Consumer Protection Act and the state Commercial Electronic Mail Act.

The Stranger first reported on Hickey's scam last June when several of the young women scammed by Hickey came forward and made their stories public.

"I'm really happy that nobody has to go through [this again]," Allysia Bishop, one of the women who originally spoke up about Hickey, said. "And holy smokes, this is amazing. I'm really happy that I had a support system to kind of push it and push me forward, even though it was uncomfortable as hell and I didn't really want to go through with it. It was so worth it."

Support The Stranger

According to the Attorney General's Office, Hickey's lawsuit marked the first time that state consumer protection laws were invoked to respond to a scam like this one.

Now the state must submit a proposed judgment to the court that recommends how Hickey should be punished. Stay tuned.

This post has been updated.

Sponsored
Sponsored by: Feminist Karate Union
We are offering VIRTUAL CLASSES! Classes are streamed live and the recordings posted on our website.