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1/10/2019 6:17:00 PM
Distributing or viewing 'revenge porn' in Indiana soon could be very costly

Dan Carden, Times of Northwest Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS — A LaPorte County senator wants to put an end to so-called "revenge porn" by allowing individuals whose intimate images are shared without their consent to sue any person who distributes or views the photographs.

State Sen. Mike Bohacek, R-Michiana Shores, said revenge porn "is wrecking people's lives," including an 18-year-old woman in his district who Bohacek said twice attempted suicide after photos of her were shared that she did not want made public.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began reviewing Bohacek's Senate Bill 192. Lawmakers raised questions about potential constitutional infringements due to its broad wording.

Bohacek said he's planning to revise the measure to clarify that only photographs taken in a setting where the subject had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and distributed with the intent to harass, intimidate, threaten, or cause physical or emotional harm would be actionable.

Images associated with artistic performances and photographs included in news reports would be exempt from legal action, according to Bohacek's preliminary revisions.

"My goal is to stop the vengeful display of images," he said.

The legislation authorizes victims to seek a minimum civil judgment of at least $10,000, plus compensation for any actual loss or damage due to the unauthorized distribution or display of intimate images, which include sex acts or nudity.

"I want to make sure we have a penalty that, as a starting point, is a true deterrent," Bohacek said.

A separate measure to criminalize revenue porn also has been filed by state Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis.

Bohacek said keeping the effort to halt revenge porn a civil matter makes it more enforceable, because the distribution often occurs across state lines, and it's easier to collect damages from afar than it is to capture and extradite a criminal suspect.

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