Girls Gone Wild Owner Ordered to Surrender

The founder of "Girls Gone Wild" has until noon Thursday, to turn himself in to U.S. Marshals in Panama City.

Federal Judge Richard Smoak reinstated contempt of court charges he first imposed against Joe Francis last week.

The case stems from a mediation session between Francis and the families of some girls filmed for Girls Gone Wild during Spring Break 2003 in Panama City Beach.
Several underage girls were shown in sexual situations. The girls' families sued.

According to court records, Francis disrupted the mediation session, cursing at the families' lawyers, and saying he wouldn't settle. Judge Smoak charged Francis with contempt of court for the disruption, but gave him one more chance to settle the case.

After mediating Friday and Saturday, Francis made an unconditional settlement offer to the families, so Judge Smoak suspended the contempt charge. The families had until Tuesday to accept the offer, which they apparently did.

But the mediator says Francis is trying to revoke the unconditional offer and impose unacceptable conditions.

Wednesday afternoon, Judge Smoak re-imposed the contempt of court sanctions, and ordered Francis to surrender. So far, Francis has not been booked into the Bay County Jail.


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