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HOME > America's Next Top Model > America's Next Top Model 8

Ex-'Top Model 8' finalist Jael Strauss' underage photos lawsuit settled

By Christopher Rocchio, 02/08/2008 

The damage may be irreversible, but Jael Strauss is apparently moving forward after provocative pictures she posed for were published without permission.

The America's Next Top Model eighth-season sixth-place finisher has settled her invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against two men who published steamy underage photographs of her without permission, E! News reported Thursday.

The terms of the settlement were not revealed, E! News reported, and a court clerk confirmed "no further action" was on the docket.

The pictures of Strauss were taken in 2000 when she was 16-years-old and found themselves in the book "Beautiful: Nudes by Marc Baptiste" that was published in 2001 by Rizzoli/Universe Publications, according to the lawsuit.  While not all the photos -- some of which Strauss claims she was naked in -- made it into the book, they eventually found their way onto the Internet once she became a Top Model 8 finalist.

"[The book's publication and the unsolicited Internet presence of the photos have] damaged [Strauss] in the beginning of her entertainment career and caused severe damage to her public image," court documents state.

Strauss alleged that her former agent Christopher Donahue allowed Baptiste -- both plaintiffs in the lawsuit -- to take "erotic photos" of her and then signed-off on the book without asking her parents' permission. 

In addition to invasion of privacy claims, Strauss also sued for theft of image and unjust enrichment, claiming she was never paid for the use of the photos.  She also accused Baptiste of trying to "seduce her" after the photo shoot.

"During the shoots... Baptiste offered Jael alcohol, allegedly to calm her nervousness and to relax her," read the lawsuit. "On returning from the shoot in Malibu to Jael's residence, Baptiste inquired whether Jael would like to have sex with him. She declined."

The Millennium Agency, which is where Donahue was employed, as well as Rizzoli/Universe are also named as plaintiffs in the suit.  Strauss was seeking unspecified restitution as well as both punitive and compensatory damages.

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