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New Bill Seeks to Make Revenge Porn a Crime
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New Bill Seeks to Make Revenge Porn a Crime

 

People start and end romantic relationships all the time. But these days, going through a breakup can sometimes involve more than simply crying, eating pints of ice cream, and debating whether to unfriend your ex on Facebook.

 

Unfortunately, some rejected exes are so angry that they have taken to posting personal and confidential sexual images and videos on the internet along with their ex’s full name, contact information, and comments. Without permission or any kind of authorization.

 

While this isn’t technically a sex crime in Minnesota, doing this does violate privacy and decency. It’s called revenge porn, and it’s a crime that didn’t exist 10 years ago.

 

With the swift advancement of the internet and technology, it’s difficult for laws to keep pace with the development of new crimes. But since it’s become a hot topic, over half of the states in the U.S. – 26 to be exact – have passed laws to stop the practice.

 

And the revenge porn laws vary greatly from state to state. Depending on where you live, revenge porn is seen as a felony or a misdemeanor, and the criminal charges cover a range of crimes. Some examples include:

 

  • Alaska: Class B Misdemeanor for Harassment in the Second Degree
  • California: Disorderly Conduct Misdemeanor
  • Colorado: Class 1 Misdemeanor for Posting a Private Image for Harassment or for Pecuniary Gain
  • Delaware: Class B Misdemeanor for Violation of Privacy
  • Florida: First Degree Misdemeanor for Sexual Cyberharassment
  • Idaho: Felony for Video Voyeurism
  • North Carolina: Class H Felony for Disclosure of Private Images
  • Oregon: Class A Misdemeanor for Unlawful Dissemination of an Intimate Image

 

With other states taking this crime seriously, lawmakers in our state have decided to put forward a revenge porn law as well.

 

Minnesota’s Potential Revenge Porn Bill

 

Up to this point, Minnesota has used the criminal defamation statute to prosecute revenge porn behavior.

 

Under this statute, criminal defamation is defined as:

 

“Anything which exposes a person or a group, class or association to hatred, contempt, ridicule, degradation or disgrace in society, or injury to business or occupation.”

 

And while revenge porn seems to fit into this definition, last year the statute was declared unconstitutional by the Minnesota Court of Appeals because it violates a person’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

 

Minneapolis Sex Crimes Lawyer

 

So with that law no longer valid, Minnesota legislators need to come up with a bill quickly that will make revenge porn a crime.

 

The proposed legislation for revenge porn – HF 2741 – would establish criminal and civil consequences for “nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images” and “nonconsensual sexual solicitation.” Nonconsensual sexual solicitation is described as using someone’s “personal information of another to invite, encourage, or solicit sexual acts without the individual’s consent” in order to harass them. The crimes would be considered gross misdemeanors unless there are aggravating factors, which could elevate the charge to a felony.

 

While many people see this proposed law and similar laws around the country as a victory, others are still concerned that these laws fall into the same category as the criminal defamation law – they violate the First Amendment.

 

Regardless of whether the bill gets passed, however, law enforcement has other ways to go after offenders. Hunter Moore – known for curating a revenge porn site – is currently serving a federal prison term for computer fraud and identity theft.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star, a Top 100 Trial Lawyer, and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney.

 


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