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Grayslake senator aids in Senate passage of revenge porn proposal

Published: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 12:12 p.m. CDT

GRAYSLAKE – The Senate passed legislation out of its chamber yesterday that would make it a felony to post sexually explicit videos or photos of another person, without their consent, to an Internet site.

State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is a co-sponsor of the initiative that aims to deter the recent phenomenon known as revenge porn.

“For any individual to threaten another person in this way and intentionally cause such harm and distress is horrible,” Bush said.

"We now live in an era of social media and smart devices and have the ability to share multimedia instantaneously and at the click of a button," she said. "Unfortunately, our laws have not kept up with our technology and we do not currently have a criminal recourse that would deter a person from posting inappropriate photos of another person online."

Currently, photos or video that may have been taken privately during a relationship can quickly wind up in front of the eyes of thousands of viewers. 

“Victims of this type of cyber-abuse have been cut off by their families, chided by acquaintances in public settings and even fired from their jobs,” she said. “It can be devastating and it can ruin a person’s life.”

In Illinois, it is illegal to post identifying or graphic material of a minor, or an adult without their consent, on a pornographic site, but no state law allows for legal recourse if a bitter ex-boyfriend or girlfriend shares explicit photos on a blog, social media or other internet site after a bad breakup. If passed, the law would make revenge porn a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to three years in jail and a $25,000 fine.

The proposal would also make it felony to host a revenge porn website that requires victims to pay a fee to have the explicit videos or photos removed.

Senate Bill 2694 passed the Senate yesterday without opposition. It now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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