'Revenge porn' trial of Island Lake woman expected to conclude Monday

  • Bethany Austin of Island Lake testifies last week during her trial on charges she unlawfully disseminated seminude images of another woman. Closing arguments in the trial are expected Monday.

    Bethany Austin of Island Lake testifies last week during her trial on charges she unlawfully disseminated seminude images of another woman. Closing arguments in the trial are expected Monday. Matthew Apgar/Shaw Media

 
By Katie Smith
Shaw Media
Updated 4/25/2021 5:27 PM

An Island Lake woman testified last week she didn't believe a set of seminude photos sent to her fiancé by another woman were intended to be private when she mailed them out to family and friends in 2016.

The trial of 43-year-old Bethany Austin on a charge of nonconsensual dissemination of sexual images is expected to conclude Monday with closing arguments.

 

Austin was charged with the felony after authorities say she discovered explicit photos of another woman in text messages on her fiance's iCloud account. Austin later distributed screenshots of the text conversations and the accompanying photos after she and her fiancé split.

"I decided to tell people the truth," Austin said in court Friday.

Although Austin testified that there was "no privacy" in the house she and then-fiancé Matthew Rychlik shared in 2016, Austin's children said otherwise.

Multiple people in the house shared an iPad and knew that notifications would show on the screen when Rychlik received new messages or emails, Austin's children testified. Although they had the opportunity to look at those messages, they never did.

"I respect people's privacy," said Austin's adult son, Domaneck Franco.

But Austin testified that the provocative photos of another woman captured her attention.

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"I was doing my quizzes for school on the iPad and pictures started popping up," Austin said.

She responded by confronting Rychlik during an appointment with a counselor, Austin said. Rychlik denied having an affair, Austin said, and the couple moved into separate homes soon after.

It wasn't until a few months later that Austin took matters into her own hands after learning her ex-fiancé was spreading rumors about their breakup, she said.

In response, Austin compiled screenshots of Rychlik's text message conversations and photos and mailed them to family and friends as a "wedding cancellation letter."

"I wanted them to know that I wasn't crazy," she said.

Rychlik later received a copy of the packet and filed a report with the Crystal Lake Police Department. When police questioned Austin about her involvement, she admitted to sending the material and provided a written statement, unaware that she might have broken the law, she said.

"I was heartbroken," she said in court Friday.

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