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Narragansett, SK Rep. Lally Joins Officials in Filing 'Revenge Porn' Legislation

Representative Lally with Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Senator Erin Lynch recently announced their intention to file legislation making it a felony to post “revenge porn” without consent of the individual depicted in the images. 

Citing the ever growing problem of posting photos and videos on the Internet with intent to embarrass or harm another individual, Representative Donald J. Lally Jr. (D-Dist. 33, Narragansett, South Kingstown), along with Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and Senator Erin Lynch (D – Dist. 31 Warwick, Cranston) recently announced the intention to file legislation that would prohibit the posting of “revenge porn” without consent of the individual depicted in the images.  

According to a release from Attorney General Kilmartin's office, "revenge porn" is defined as sexually explicit media that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual. It is uploaded by former lovers or hackers for the purpose of humiliation. The images or videos are often accompanied by personal information, including the pictured individual's full name and links to social media profiles. 

Although there have been reports of this disturbing conduct occurring across Rhode Island, the activity is not currently addressed by state law.

AG Kilmartin has filed similar legislation for the past three years as one part of his Internet Safety legislation package.

“We have all been taught that once an image is posted on the Internet, there is a good chance it will be in cyberspace forever," he said. "But, the latest phenomenon of individuals posting intimate photos and videos on ‘revenge porn’ sites with the mission to embarrass exes takes the exploitation and degradation of people, especially women, to a new level of depravity."

“These private images go viral to the world leaving the victim no recourse to have the images removed," Kilmartin continued. "This legislation will give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to hold these vengeful individuals accountable for this horrendous action."

If passed, the legislation would prohibit a person from electronically distributing visual images of another engaged in sexually explicit conduct or the intimate parts of another, without that person’s consent and where the person had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Constitutionally protected activity is not subject to the provisions of this section. 

Those in violation would be guilty of a felony with a maximum penalty of three years in prison or a fine of not more than $3,000 or both. 

“I applaud Attorney General Kilmartin for this strong legislation and I will be proud to submit it when the new session begins," said Rep. Lally. "Individuals posting explicit photos with the intent of embarrassing a former romantic partner must be punished, and this new law would give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools necessary to take decisive action. Once such a law is on the books, it will hopefully make those seeking revenge think twice before invading someone’s privacy in such a degrading manner.” 

“Posting explicit photos of a former partner without their consent is extremely hurtful and embarrassing. Penalties need to be strong to ensure that people think twice before attempting to degrade an individual in this way," said Sen. Lynch. "I am grateful to Attorney General Kilmartin for developing this legislation to address a new kind of virtual assault, which disproportionately targets women. I am proud to submit this legislation on his behalf.” 

Tom Keefe January 03, 2014 at 11:18 AM
How does one define former romantic partner? This story sounds like the story about the camel's nose!

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