Missouri State Rep Pre-Files Legislation Taking Aim At Revenge Porn

Jan 7, 2014
Internet
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State Representative Kevin Engler, a Republican from Farmington who represents much of Ste. Genevieve County, pre-filed legislation that would criminalize the act of knowingly distributing nude photos or videos of someone without their consent, also known as “revenge porn.”

California and New Jersey are the only states to address this issue with legislation thus far.

House Bill 1203 would criminalize this act within the State of Missouri.

A news release from Engler’s office notes that “revenge porn” occurs when a person shares a sexually explicit photo or video with a partner, which was deemed to have a relative expectation of privacy, only to see those images pop up online. The images are often tied to the person’s name, address and phone number.

State Representative Kevin Engler has filed a bill targeting revenge porn, the posting of images without a victim's permission.

State Representative Kevin Engler has filed a bill targeting revenge porn, the posting of images without a victim’s permission.

 

Engler added he’s disgusted by related websites offering reputation protection services and offering to remove the videos / images for a fee from the victim.

Engler said Saturday the proposal would seek to charge those people who share the image or video with a Class D felony.

“We need to have our laws keep up with technology.” he said after touring the Lucent Window and Door facility. “I actually had a constituent who had a problem. I think it’s terrible that people would do this, but more importantly I think it’s terrible that we don’t have a law to prevent them from doing it.”

Mary Anne Franks, associate professor of law at the University of Miami and Vice-President of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, said “Missouri’s proposed legislation offers comprehensive protection for the intimate privacy of all citizens. This law sends the strong message that the malicious abuse of private images will not be tolerated.”

Engler said he was working with Franks in development of the bill.

He said law enforcement would target those ex-spouses or ex-lovers who submit the material to websites rather than the companies that post the material.

“It’s typically the ex-spouse or ex-lover who is doing it, and those people are usually present, and that’s the person who gets the Class D felony,” Engler said. “It’s a weird situation but you think through it and it’s unbelievable. Everybody can go to these sites and see all these videos or pictures, and there’s people who didn’t give them permission for them to be there.”

The 2014 legislative session begins Wednesday, January 8 in Jefferson City.

Legislation filed has until mid-May to pass both the House and the Senate before being sent to the Governor Jay Nixon’s desk for final approval.

Engler said he also anticipates proposed legislation on the statute that allows mine developers to locate boundaries inside their property footprint to avoid contacting adjacent property owners.

Property owners in the Colony Church and Trogdan roads area complained about the wording of the law during a public meeting on the Summit Proppants’ proposal for western Ste. Genevieve County. Engler and State Senator Gary Romine attended that meeting last May in Ste. Genevieve.

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