State senator hopes to get lucky with ‘sextortion’ bill this year

Published 9:05 am Friday, February 1, 2019

A bill authored by Sen. Sally Doty that targets “sextortion” and “revenge porn” remains alive in the Senate. Doty, R-Brookhaven, is hopeful this is the year the measure makes it to the governor’s desk.

The bill is Senate Bill No. 2528.

She has filed a similar bill before only to see it die. The measure would create penalties and liability for sharing intimate visual material of another person.

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“This bill provides a civil cause of action, injunctive relief or criminal penalties for sharing intimate pictures or video online without consent,” Doty said when she filed the bill previously.

Sextortion is defined as blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favors and/or money from the victim.

“For example, a blackmailer might assume the identity of an attractive man or woman online, then after gaining the victim’s trust, will record footage of the victim in the nude or performing a sexual act,” Doty said. “The blackmailer threatens to circulate this footage to the victim’s friends or post it online unless a certain amount of money is paid or other sexual images produced.”

Revenge porn involves intimate photos or videos taken or shared with consent with the expectation of privacy.

“Then they are posted online or shared publicly,” she said. “The increases in technology require that our laws keep up with these types of issues. The public release of intimate photographs can have such devastating effects and my goal with this bill is to punish offenders and prevent these instances from happening in the first place.”

The bill would allow a claimant who has won a lawsuit to be awarded damages, court costs and attorney’s fees.