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D.C. Madam's mom sues to block release of photos

Blanche Palfrey, the mother of "D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey, is asking a judge to stop the release of photos taken by the Tarpon Springs Police Department following her daughter's suicide.

The younger Palfrey committed suicide in a shed outside her mother's home in Tarpon Springs on May 1. Palfrey, who was 52, was facing six to eight years in federal prison after being convicted of racketeering and money laundering convictions while running a prostitution service.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Pinellas County Circuit Court, Serbo Simeoni, the elder Palfrey's attorney, argued "the gratuitous disclosure" of the photographs by Tarpon Springs police is "inappropriate, unacceptable and personally harmful" to Blanche Palfrey. He said the disclosure constitutes an invasion of privacy, and "continuing intentional infliction of emotional distress."

The suit was filed in response to public records requests made by Internet bloggers and the St. Petersburg Times, Simeoni told a Times reporter Wednesday.

"She cries every day for her daughter, so this is something she feels very strongly about," Simeoni said.

Simeoni said Blanche Palfrey is not contesting the release of the written police reports, just the photos.

"Certainly the reports are newsworthy in the sense that they describe the scene, but the photos may go too far in invading her privacy," he said.

Tarpon Springs City Attorney Jim Yacavone was not available for comment Wednesday, but interim City Manager Mark LeCouris said Yacavone was aware of the lawsuit.

"From our opinion, the public records law states that we would release these things — unless we had a court order otherwise — when the case was over," LeCouris said.

The Police Department is finalizing a report about the investigation that should be released soon, LeCouris said.

Rita Farlow can be reached at (727) 445-4162 or farlow@sptimes.com.

D.C. Madam's mom sues to block release of photos 08/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 11, 2008 4:15pm]
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