Illinois Makes 'Revenge Porn' a Felony

Dec 31, 2014 3:00 PM PST

CHICAGO — Illinois has become the latest state to criminalize "revenge porn," crafting what its creators hope will become a model for federal legislation.

Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday signed a measure making the "non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images" a felony offense in Illinois.

The new revenge porn law will go into effect June 1, and will punish offenders with one to three years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.

“We believe [revenge porn] is a form of sexual assault," State Representative Scott Drury (D-Highwood), one of the bill's co-sponsors, told The Huffington Post. "The harm to the victim and the way they react to it is very similar: They’re not comfortable going out in public anymore; they fear being assaulted; they could be stalked. You could be someone working at Burger King, and now you’re a sex object.”

Carrie Goldberg, a board member of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, which helped create the law, said the measure should be viewed as model for future federal legislation because it targets random hackers as well as jilted exes, the latter who aren't necessarily bent on revenge; it forces offenders to forfeit any profit they make from the images; and it imposes stiff penalties on offenders.

“The lawmakers are not just paying lip service here," said Goldberg. “There are actual serious consequences attached."

Hawaii, Idaho and Arizona consider revenge porn a felony for a first violation; the crime is a felony in Georgia and Utah on the second offense.

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