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Senator Proposes to Make "Revenge Porn" Illegal in NY

5:11 PM, Oct 5, 2013   |    comments
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By Joseph Spector, Gannett Albany

A state senator said he will submit legislation that would make "revenge porn" illegal in New York, which was recently made a criminal offense in California.

Sen. Phil Boyle, R-Suffolk County, said this week he would introduce a bill to prosecute people who post graphic photos or videos of an ex-lover on the Internet without the person's consent.

California this week made it a misdemeanor to distribute sexual images "with the intent to cause serious emotional distress." New Jersey has made similar actions a felony.

"Revenge porn can ruin a woman's life, family and career," Boyle said in a statement. "As the social media phenomenon grows, more and more women are being violated and exploited by their ex-boyfriends and husbands. These private images go viral to the world and women have little or no legal recourse."

Boyle said the revenge photos and videos are often accompanied by personal information, such as home and work addresses and links to Facebook. He pointed to cases in Florida and Texas where boyfriends posted embarrassing photos of their ex-girlfriends, leading to the women being harassed and one to change her name.

Critics of the California ban said that the law doesn't protect all victims. The law doesn't prohibit photos a person took of themselves from being posted online; it only bans images taken by the person posting them.

There was no indication whether Boyle has an Assembly sponsor for the bill. The state Legislature returns to session in January.

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