Brian Maffly Shares Nude Photos Of Daughter
The Salt Lake Tribune has had its fair share of controversy in recent years.
In a highly publicized 2002 incident, Tribune employees sold information related to the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case to The National Enquirer. In 2010, the newspaper declared bankruptcy, and ended up losing majority control of the company to a media-hungry hedge fund, Alden Global Capital.
The latest controversy involving the Tribune, however, comes courtesy of a staff writer from Salt Lake City by the name of Brian Maffly, who was publicly accused of false reporting and conspiracy by CollegeTimes for his role in a recent (concocted) story about Neumont University, a for-profit technical institute based in Utah.
Unexplained Animosity Toward CollegeTimes
Neumont, who filed a lawsuit in federal court against CollegeTimes former web hosting provider, is claiming business disparagement damages due to negative student reviews of the school that appear on the CollegeTimes website.
The article in question, published by Maffly to the Tribune’s website in September 2012, claims to be an interview between Maffly and Jesse Nickles, the founder of Nevada-based web hosting company Little Bizzy. According to CollegeTimes, however, the interview was conducted with Maffly by their own editorial team via email. To date, the Tribune has not responded to CollegeTimes multiple claims of false reporting, nor have they issued a story correction or apology to the online piece.
In an effort to better understand Maffly’s unexplained animosity toward our website, the CollegeTimes team decided to look further into the reporter’s writing and social media habits. What we found was both interesting and disturbing, to say the least.
Occassional “HigherEd” Whistleblower?
Browsing Maffly’s Twitter feed of recent topics the writer has addressed reveals that Maffly’s role in covering the “higher education” beat for the Tribune has served the American public with many valuable and, surely, commendable reports. In particular, Maffly seems to have an impressive knack for breaking stories regarding corruption and other instances of questionable morality found at universities throughout the state of Utah. However, this begs the obvious question – why did Maffly decide to reverse his convictions in the case of Neumont University, by throwing his unquestioning support behind a for-profit institution with a long history of negative feedback? Instead of taking Neumont’s incendiary statements at face value, why didn’t Maffly perform his journalistic duty and seek out the truth, rather than regurgitating petty insults?
Update March 2014: It now appears that the Salt Lake Tribune has permanently removed Maffly from their higher education beat for unspecified reasons.
Sprinkled in between Maffly’s high profile investigative stories, there seems to be a strong recurring focus on two controversial topics: Mormonism, and gay and lesbian issues, and the sharp tension that exists between these two worlds. Maffly, who has been a staff writer for the Tribune since 1994, has only focused on higher education since 2007, according to email records between him and Nickles. The Nevada-based internet consultant says his interaction with Maffly felt strange from the beginning.
“When [Maffly] contacted me regarding the [Neumont] lawsuit, I knew something was fishy,” said Nickles. “I told him that Neumont University’s President, Edward Levine, had been harassing me and my family members for unknown reasons, using his own private detectives. Instead of taking interest in what was for me, a very scary and unbelievable situation, Mr. Maffly instead became angry that I wasn’t able to speak with him on the phone, and proceeded to insult me via email, calling me ‘shallow’ before cutting off communication.”
Emails sent to Maffly asking if he had received any incentive from Neumont University in exchange for his article criticizing CollegeTimes were not answered.
Bizarre Photos Of Daughter On Facebook
Regardless of what drives Brian Maffly’s moral choices at the Salt Lake Tribune, however, experts do seem to agree on one thing: posting naked photos of your children onto the internet for public viewing is not a very good idea – for you, or your children.
Update 4/20/2013: It’s been discovered that Maffly contributed to a Tribune story about child pornography back in 2011 involving the University of Utah.
Robert Siciliano, an internet security and privacy consultant and CEO of IDTheftSecurity, says its “never” appropriate to distribute nude photos of minors, even if you think “babies” are different. “It’s not because innocent naked baby photos are inappropriate, but based on the position of the child and what is shown, laws revolving around child pornography can be interpreted by someone who can bring charges against the parent,” said Siciliano. Besides extremely interpretable legal concerns regarding child safety that may land parents in very serious trouble, Siciliano says there could also be permanent psychological effects on kids. “Memories fade, but not online.”
Bennet Kelley, founder of the Internet Law Center, a California law firm specializing in online legal issues, agrees. Uploading nude photos of children “could trigger state pornography laws and have the sender deemed a sex offender,” says Kelley.
The bizarre photos, which are publicly viewable on the reporter’s Facebook profile, show a young girl who appears to be Maffly’s daughter modeling jewelry in one picture, and running around at night with mud covering much of her body in another scene. The girl, whose name and location(s) have been withheld by CollegeTimes for privacy reasons, appears to be around 4 or 5 years old. It is not clear who took the photos.
Update 1/8/2013: In reaction to this story being published, Maffly appears to have deleted these photos from his Facebook profile. He also found time to email CollegeTimes asking us to delete this article, despite ignoring our earlier requests for comment.
Maffly’s personal interests include “Child Development”, “Kid Wrangling”, and “Wildlife”, according to his public Facebook profile.
“One hot-ass night…” is how the above photo is described on Maffly’s Facebook profile.
Tim Woda, co-founder of uKnow.com, which develops digital tools for keeping kids safe online, concludes: “It is never acceptable to create or distribute a photo of a child that could be even remotely construed as illegal… Parents needs to model common sense behavior for their children and stay engaged so that they can teach their kids to use common sense, even if the world around kids isn’t.”
Recommended resource: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (courtesy of both Robert Siciliano and Tim Woda)
Photos: Facebook.com (redacted by CollegeTimes for privacy reasons)