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Wallace, McMahon join DA Flynn announce passage of 'revenge porn' legislation

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Fri, Mar 1st 2019 02:50 pm

On Friday, Assemblywoman Monica Wallace and Assemblywoman Karen McMahon joined Erie County District Attorney John Flynn to announce the passage of legislation that establishes the crime of unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image, commonly known as “revenge porn” (A.5981).

“In an era where just about everyone has a smart phone, private and intimate pictures are sometimes shared between individuals – but never expected to be shared publicly,” Wallace said. “Recipients, however, do not always keep the images private, sometimes leading to the nonconsensual dissemination of the images online, known plainly as ‘revenge porn.’ The victims of revenge porn – often women – commonly go on to have issues with employment, relationships, and overall mental health stemming from the publication of private images. Criminalizing revenge porn will hopefully act as a deterrent to those who are thinking of uploading lewd photographs of others, and I am proud of the stand that my colleagues in the Legislature took this week.”

“No one should be subjected to the horror of having their most personal of images strewn across the internet without their consent,” McMahon said. “Criminalizing revenge porn empowers women and men, sending a message that consent is imperative – both in person and online.”

“I am thrilled the NYS Legislature passed this law,” Flynn said. “I am also thankful that Gov. Cuomo has indicated his support. This new law will now give me the ability to prosecute these despicable acts.”

Under this legislation, a person is guilty of unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image when, with intent to cause harm to the emotional, financial or physical welfare of another person, he or she intentionally disseminates or publishes an intimate still or video image of such other person, without such person's consent. An intimate image is defined as a still or video image that shows the intimate parts of such person, or depicts such person engaging in sexual conduct as defined in the penal law.

Unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image is a class A misdemeanor.

The bill also provides family court with concurrent jurisdiction over proceedings that would constitute unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image between spouses or former spouses, parents and children, or members of the same family or household.

Lastly, the legislation creates a private right of action for an individual to pursue damages and injunctive relief against someone who unlawfully disseminates or publishes an intimate image. The private right of action is designed to work in conjunction with the criminal law, and does not require a criminal conviction or charge be obtained in order to proceed. An individual can also commence a special proceeding to obtain a court order to have an intimate image permanently removed from the internet.

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