Pa. Senators Try to Punish "Revenge Porn"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Pennsylvania Senator is pushing for a bill that would outlaw the posting of explicit images of a person on the Internet as a form of revenge from an ex. NBC10's Harry Hairston speaks to the senator as well as a victim of "revenge porn."

    Local lawmakers continue to push for a bill that would outlaw "revenge porn."

    On January 28, the state Senate voted unanimously for a bill to punish the practice of posting online sexually explicit photos or videos of ex-romantic partners as a way of humiliating them.

    The bill sponsored by Berks County Sen. Judy Schwank would make the depiction of a minor a first-degree misdemeanor, while depiction of someone 18 or older would be a second-degree misdemeanor.

    "What it will do is it will add this type of intimate partner harassment to our criminal code under the harassment legislation," Schwank said during an interview with NBC10 on Tuesday.

    A first-degree misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, while a second-degree misdemeanor carries up to two years in prison.

    Schwank says "revenge porn'' can ruin lives and reputations. AnnMarie Chiarini, a victim of revenge porn, agrees.

    "This is my life," Chiarini said. "In order for this to end I have to end my life."

    Chiarini says she ended her relationship with her fiance over the phone when she heard a chilling response.

    "His last words were, 'I will destroy you,'" she said.

    Days later, Chiarini says nude photos she took for her fiance were suddenly on the Internet for all to see.

    "He had posted the picture on the porn website 'Ex Hampster,'" she said.

    Chiarini says her ex didn't stop there.

    "He posted links on the five Facebook pages of my college where I teach," she said.

    Chiarini says her breaking point came when her ex sent DVD's showing her nude to her family and friends. She then attempted suicide. As she continues to recover from the emotional trauma, she is now working with Maryland state legislators to outlaw revenge porn.

    Rob Dovidio, a cyber crimes expert, tells NBC10 that while the bill is well-intended, it won't really do anything.

    "These laws are symbolic at best," he said. "Law enforcement is not going to be able to make that electronic connection between the picture that was posted on the revenge porn website and the person that posted it."

    Only California and New Jersey have laws that punish such perpetrators, while several other states are considering bills.