Bill to create harsher penalties for ‘revenge porn’ has been refiled

Boston Statehouse

Lt. Governor Karen Polito Wednesday announced her plans to re-file a bill to modernize the laws against the sharing of explicit images without consent.     

As part of a statewide campaign to curb sexual assault and domestic violence, Lt. Gov. Karen Polito is including a digital component in her legislation to protect teens and young adults. 

Under the current law, if an explicit image of a minor is shared without consent, it’s considered child pornography; a Felony offense. 

Teens and young adults often send explicit images to each other. Once it’s shared without consent, the person responsible could face a ten-year prison sentence.

Under Polito’s bill, the felony offense is still on the table, but local DA’s could offer a program to educate teens.

“Clearly the use of sexually explicit images to harm someone’s reputation or to bully them is an area of opportunity for the public awareness campaign to publicly speak about it,” Polito said. 

The public awareness campaign will be shared on Instagram and Snapchat next month to inform young girls on appropriate relationship behavior.

 Pittsfield State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier said, “It’s important for youth to understand what a healthy relationship is and to have those really basic tools, just like you need basic tools to learn how to read you need basic tools on what it means to be in a relationship.”

The campaign aims to educate adolescents on the dynamics of a healthy relationship in the hopes of preventing domestic violence and sexual assault in the future. 

Forty other states have already passed similar legislation.  

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