Army Special Forces major and new girlfriend ordered to pay $3.2 million to ex-wife in revenge porn case

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Green Berets assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) conduct urban movement training on July 18, 2019, at Fort Bragg N.C. (U.S. Army/Spc. Peter Seidler)

A Fayetteville bartender won a $3.2 million verdict Monday evening against her ex-husband and his new significant other in what appears to be North Carolina's first revenge porn lawsuit to reach a jury verdict.

Elizabeth Ann Clark a year ago leveled accusations of alienation-of-affection, libel and revenge porn in the case against ex-husband Maj. Adam Matthew Clark and his partner, Lt. Col. Kimberly Rae Barrett, in Cumberland County Superior Court.

"Alienation-of-affection" is the legal term for instances in which someone outside a marital relationship breaks up the marriage.


The verdict came down just before 5 p.m. Monday, lawyers said, following roughly an hour of deliberations at the end of a five-day trial.

Elizabeth Clark said Monday evening that she nearly fainted as the jury said it had sided with her and the monetary awards were announced.

The first figure announced was $1 million.

"I was kind of confused at first," she said.

She looked at one of her lawyers, José Coker. He was calm, she said. So she looked to her left at Adam Clark and Barrett at the defense table just a few yards away.

"And Kim was bawling or starting to bawl," Elizabeth Clark said. "It hit me."

She described hyperventilating and getting light-headed and laying her head on the table.

Elizabeth Clark's case said that she and Adam Clark, who is assigned to thee 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, had been married since April 2010. They had two children together. She alleged that he began an affair with Barrett in 2016, when Adam Clark was temporarily working at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Lawyer Michael Porter contended to the jury in closing arguments on Monday that Barrett, recently divorced and over age 40, wanted to start a family. She began her relationship with Adam Clark to make that happen, Porter said, and stole him away from Elizabeth Clark.

The evidence included sexting between Adam Clark and Barrett prior, in which he sent a sexually explicit video of himself, Porter said.

Barrett, a physician, has since come to Fort Bragg and practices at Womack Army Medical Center. Adam Clark has fathered a child with Barrett via invitro fertilization, Porter said.

Some of the other allegations in the case:

  • Adam Clark was unhappy with the child support payments he owed Elizabeth Clark.
  • He libeled his Elizabeth Clark by posting online that she had herpes and an eating disorder, which Elizabeth Clark said are lies.
  • He posted online a topless photo of Elizabeth Clark on Facebook and to the Kik dating and sexual hookup app that she had sent him when they still had a sexual relationship. And he also posted an unflattering photo on Facebook of her in undergarments that she had made when she was trying to lose weight.
  • He had stalked her.

Barrett and Adam Clark's lawyers argued that there was little evidence that Elizabeth Clark had been harmed by the pictures and comments. They also said there was a lack of direct evidence that the topless photo was shared to Kik. There was evidence a version of it with her naked breast partly covered with a star was shared to Facebook.

The jury ordered Barrett to pay Elizabeth Clark $1.2 million and Adam Clark to pay her $2 million. The judge, Mary Ann Talley, assessed an additional $10,000 on Adam Clark for the revenge porn, Porter said.

Elizabeth Clark said the money, should she receive it, will help her take care of her children, particularly her 5-year-old son who is severely disabled with autism. She also hopes to further her education to provide a better life for her family.

She also hopes to help other former spouses who face bullying from their ex-spouses, she said. She had confidence in her case, she said, because she had confidence in her her legal team, which included Coker, Porter and Jonathan Charleston.

"I did believe I was going to win because I knew what I was telling was the truth," she said. "And I know my story, and I knew what I lived through every single day and still to this day, and what I'm going to continue to live through."

Adam Clark has a misdemeanor charges of stalking and cyberstalking pending against him in Cumberland County District Court in connection with these allegations. Coker said Barrett testified she is being investigated by the military for adultery, which is a crime in the military, using her position to influence childcare and accessing the medical records of the Elizabeth Clark and her children.

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©2019 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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