Rhode Island Legislators Target 'Revenge Porn'

Dec 23, 2013 1:30 PM PST

PROVIDENCE — A group of Rhode Island law makers are looking to criminalize “revenge porn” by making it a felony punishable by jail time and steep fines.

Rep. Donald Lally plans to introduce to the House when the 2014 session of the General Assembly picks up.

Sen. Erin Lynch, who helped write the bill, said, "Someone could be the most important person in your life one day and then six months later there can be so much hatred and venom that something like this happens. It could be the most embarrassing thing in your life."

Lynch first learned of revenge porn while working as a divorce attorney, believes that tough repercussions might serve as an apt deterrent for such a crime.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin's office reportedly proposed similar legislation a few years ago, but it never received a vote.

Rhode Island’s push comes on the heels of the news that Kevin Bollaert, the alleged owner and operator of revenge porn site UGotPosted.com, was recently arrested in California and charged with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion. He now faces possible jail time and fines.

Anti-revenge porn fervor has been spreading across the U.S. and abroad: New Jersey, California and the Australian state of Victoria have respectively criminalized it and similar legislation is now being drafted in New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, Maryland and elsewhere.

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