Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Politics
  3. Political Buzz

Revenge Porn Bill Passes Pennsylvania State Judiciary Committee.

See also

A bill heightening the penalty for revenge porn – the act of sending still images or video clips, without consent, to a third party with the purpose of inflicting wide-ranging damage upon the victim – last week won unanimous approval from the influential Pennsylvania State Senate Judiciary Committee.

If Senate Bill 1167 passes, Pennsylvania would become the third state in the country to criminalize revenge porn.

SB 1167, introduced by State Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks), amends the penalty and clarifies its alignment with the Sexting Law by creating the Intimate Partner Harassment offense.

With Schwank’s amendment, the offense of Intimate Partner Harassment would carry a penalty of up to five year’s imprisonment and $10,000 in cases involving minors, and $5,000 for cases involving adults.

“It’s an important step forward to protect people from having their lives and reputations injured or ruined by a bitter former intimate,” Schwank said. “Posting these images has serious consequences for victims. It should, and under this proposal would, have serious consequences for an offender.”

Schwank, the minority chair of the agriculture and rural affairs committee, further clarified the purpose of the bill in a memo circulated to peers.

“Articles in various media recently have reported the emerging phenomena of ‘revenge porn,’ where a person posts sexually explicit photos or videos of an ex-spouse or lover online, typically accompanied by abusive comments, identifying information that includes the victim's name and/or where they live or work, and even links to the victim's social media accounts. One woman even found photos of her posted to her new name after she had changed it to separate herself from the images,” read a portion of Schwank’s memo. “The nature of these acts is particularly personal and malignant, and the abuse can be devastating to victims, who nationally have lost jobs, had relationships with family and friends severely damaged and found themselves stalked by strangers. Unfortunately, it is not illegal to use them in this way. In Pennsylvania, for example, even harassment charges apparently would apply only if there is a repeated course of conduct despite the reality that a single internet posting can result today in an infinite number of viewings. Website operators, meanwhile, are largely protected by federal law from responsibility for material posted by third parties. As one law professor describes it, revenge porn is ‘an easy way to make people unemployable, un-datable and potentially at physical risk.’

“[My legislation closes the] he loophole in our law by making it illegal to distribute or post a photo or other recorded images of an identifiable person who is naked or engaged in sexual activity, unless the subject has given authorization to do so or the images were recorded in circumstances where a reasonable expectation of privacy or confidentiality did not exist,” Schwank continued in her memo. “It is modeled on current law in New Jersey and legislation awaiting the governor's signature in California. Violations would be a second-degree misdemeanor, a grade higher than now provided for harassment. Where the victim is a minor, a violation would increase two-steps to a third-degree felony.”

Advertisement

News

  • Mt. Everest avalanche
    Disaster strikes Mt. Everest as at least 12 people were killed in an avalanche
    Video
    Watch Video
  • Most Earthlike planet discovered
    The Kepler telescope has discovered the most Earthlike, possibly habitable planet yet
    Space News
  • Easter crosses create debate
    Easter crosses spark a debate of separation of church and state in Ohio
    Headlines
  • Chelsea Clinton is preggers
    Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child
    Headlines
  • Stanley Cup playoffs
    The battle for Lord Stanley's Cup is on, don't miss a minute of playoff action
    Sports
  • Ukraine discussed amongst U.S., E.U., Russia
    The U.S., E.U. and Russia agree on ways to diffuse the tension in Ukraine
    Video
    Watch Video

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!