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'Revenge porn' bill on way to governor

Published March 13, 2014 3:38 pm

Images • Outlaws distributing them with intent to cause emotional harm.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Jilted lovers, beware of reprisals: A bill on its way to Gov. Gary Herbert would outlaw "revenge porn."

The House voted 66-6 Thursday to give final passage to HB71, approving Senate amendments.

It would outlaw distributing "intimate images," such as partial nudity or sexual conduct, of adults without consent and with intent to cause emotional distress or harm.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, said such images are often posted online or sent digitally after a couple separates — and that is not clearly illegal under existing laws.

"Families and lives are destroyed. Victims are harassed, stalked, threatened and embarrassed. They lose jobs. They are forced to change schools. And some have even committed suicide," Poulson said in earlier debate.

Poulson also read a letter in earlier debate from a victim who was 19 and in college when a former boyfriend began distributing such images.

"It nearly destroyed me," the letter said. "There was no law to stop the person from continuing to assault me both emotionally and by reputation."

Twelve years later and after spending thousands of dollars to obtain a restraining order, the victim still lives in fear "that this psychotic predator … might continue to get away with this crime that he has yet to be punished for," the letter said.

Lee Davidson