City Councilman Calls For Local Law Criminalizing Revenge Porn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Revenge porn is illegal in 35 states, but surprisingly, New York is not one of them.

But now, some New York City leaders are fighting to make it a crime.

Smartphones have become the weapon of choice for ways to scorn ex-lovers. Within a matter of seconds, someone can post a nude photo or video for the world to see.

And in New York state, as CBS2’s Emily Smith reported, there are still no legal ramifications for doing such a thing.

“It causes immediate, irretractable damage to its victims,” said attorney Carrie Goldberg.

In revenge porn, the victim knows the photos have been taken, but has never consented to the material being posted on social media.

There are even websites dedicated to revenge porn.

“We really, really need the criminal laws to deter the behavior in the first place,” Goldberg said.

City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-24th) seconds the idea. He has been working on a bill for New York City that would make it a crime to post naked photos of someone online without their consent.

The legislation is expected to be introduced formally to the City Council this week. Upon conviction, the crime would come with a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.

“People know what they’re doing. They’re in many cases doing it intentionally to hurt another person. They’re not hiding that, and that’s despicable,” Lancman said, “and they need to be held accountable.”

Lancman’s fight to make revenge porn a crime began when he realized 35 states have laws against it, but not New York.

Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Queens) admitted that one the state level, it has been a two-year fight with little gain.

“I think a lot of times when you’re creating a new crime, sometimes the Legislature is hesitant, and we don’t want to wait until a victim comes forward with a story that’s just so compelling that we need to pass this legislation,” Braunstein said.

Braunstein said as it is, any couple can break up and someone can post the video online.

“It happens all the time,” he said.

While many favor criminalizing revenge porn, some argue the laws violate freedom of speech and should be left out of the legal system.

In New York state, a victim can sue someone for revenge porn, but there is no criminal law against it.

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