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Politics

Gianaris, Senate Majority & Assembly Protect New Yorkers from “Revenge Porn”

March 2, 2019

ALBANY, NY – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and the New York State Senate Democratic Majority on February 28 passed legislation (S.1719-C) establishing the crime of unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image and creates a private right of action for such crime. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Monica Martinez, makes New York the 42nd state to criminalize the dissemination of an intimate image with the intent to cause harm to another individual.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said, “The distribution of explicit images without one’s consent is offensive and ought to be illegal. I am pleased the New New York Senate is standing up for victims of this repulsive act.”

The “Revenge Porn” bill passed by the Senate Majority establishes:

  • The criminal act of unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image when done with the intent to cause harm to the emotional, financial, or physical welfare of another person when the image was taken with a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private.
  • The unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Amends the Civil Rights Law to allow victims of “revenge porn” to seek civil recourse for the damages and victims will have a choice whether to pursue a criminal or civil case, or both.
  • Exempts images shared during lawful and common practices of law enforcement, legal proceedings or medical treatment, and those involving voluntary exposure in a commercial setting.

The New York State Assembly also passed the bill, as Assemblymember Edward C. Braunstein announced on February 28. He said, “Revenge porn is a pervasive problem that often results in victims being threatened with sexual assault, stalked, harassed, or fired from jobs. Some victims have even committed suicide due to the severe emotional pain caused by the disclosure of their intimate photos. The passage of this legislation sends a strong message that individuals who engage in this type of reprehensible behavior will be held accountable for their actions.”

“Once this bill is signed into law, perpetrators will face up to a year in prison, providing prosecutors with the tools necessary to punish those who commit these despicable crimes,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. “Victims will also be able to file for a court order requiring websites to permanently remove the offending images as well as obtain significant civil penalties against the abuser. This would make New York the first state in nation to allow a court to issue an injunction requiring websites to take these videos and images down.”

“Additionally, I would like to thank Carrie Goldberg, a victims rights lawyer at C. A. Goldberg, PLLC, as well as the advocates at the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Sanctuary for Families, and the Cyber Sexual Abuse Task Force, for their tireless advocacy over the last six years on this important issue,” said Assemblyman Braunstein.

“I am proud to have worked together with Assemblyman Braunstein and with all stakeholders to pass this vitally important bill. Today is not only a win for the State Legislature, but for all victims of this unspeakable violation. This is a testament to the strength we have when we work together to protect all New Yorkers,” said Senator Monica Martinez.

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