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'Revenge porn' closer to being criminalized in Utah

Published: Monday, Feb. 24 2014 5:35 p.m. MST

Utah State Capitol during Art Day at the Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Salt Lake City. A Senate committee gave a favorable recommendation Monday to a bill that would criminalize so-called “revenge porn.” The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee sent the bill to the full Senate with a unanimous vote. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Utah State Capitol during Art Day at the Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Salt Lake City. A Senate committee gave a favorable recommendation Monday to a bill that would criminalize so-called “revenge porn.” The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee sent the bill to the full Senate with a unanimous vote. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — "Revenge porn" is one step closer to being criminalized.

A Senate committee gave a favorable recommendation Monday to a bill that would criminalize so-called “revenge porn.” The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee sent the bill to the full Senate with a unanimous vote.

HB71 addresses nonconsensual pornography, which is the publication of explicit photos and videos without the permission from the subject, usually by a previous significant other, with the intent to cause emotional distress or harm.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, applies to individuals 18 and older. It used to call for a violation to be a third-degree felony; however, the severity of the punishment was lessened on the House floor.

Now, a first offense would be a class A misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses would be third-degree felonies.

"I understand that HB71 won't completely stop this behavior," said Tom Panuzio, a security expert involved in multiple revenge porn cases. "But I do believe in all my heart that it will deter these events from happening in our state."

— Madeleine Brown

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