Jul 28, 2014
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Senate Passes Bill Protecting Women’s Privacy Rights

Boston – Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) voted in support of a bill that would criminalize the secret photographing or videotaping of a person’s “sexual or other intimate parts”.  House Bill 3934 – “An act relative to unlawful sexual surveillance” was filed in response to a high court ruling that found “upskirt” photos to be legal under current decency laws.  The bill makes it clear that it does not matter whether the intimate body parts are covered by clothing or undergarments for a perpetrator to be in violation.

“This legislation is crucial to protecting the safety and security of all residents of the Commonwealth,” said Senator Ross. “As technology continues to advance, it is imperative that we, as a Legislature, continue to reevaluate current laws to ensure that public safety is maintained. I commend my colleagues for their swift action on this important issue.”

The bill makes taking a photograph or recording under or around a person’s clothing a misdemeanor when a reasonable person would believe that their sexual or other intimate parts would not be visible to the public. The bill includes punishments of imprisonment in the house of correction for up to 2 ½ years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. The bill enhances penalties for taking a photograph or recording of a child under 18 years of age by adding a potential state prison sentence of up to 5 years, if charged with a felony, and by increasing the fine to $10,000.

The bill also expands the current dissemination statute for adults to include taking a photograph or recording under or around a person’s clothing without their knowledge. The current statute includes a possible state prison sentence of up to 5 years if charged with a felony. The bill penalizes dissemination of photographs or recordings of underage victims with a state prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The bill will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.

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