Revenge Porn is Now a First-Degree Misdemeanor In Florida

revenge-porn

Florida’s “revenge porn” law, advocated by State Rep. Tom Goodson (R), Florida and signed by Gov. Rick Scott (R), Florida, went into effect on October 1, 2015. Now, people who post explicit photos of their exes without their exes’ permission face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. The victims of “revenge porn” are also entitled to sue their offenders.

“Revenge porn” falls under the category of sexual harassment, and is described as the “online posting of explicit photos of people without their permission.” Goodson’s House bill was passed on May 14th. With the new law, Florida has become the 17th state to create laws against sexual cyber harassment.

“Sexually cyberharassment” means to publish a sexually explicit image of a person that contains or conveys the personal identification information of the depicted person to an Internet website without the depicted person’s consent, for no legitimate purpose, with the intent of causing substantial emotional distress to the depicted person.

Many “revenge porn” images or videos on the web contain private information such as the victim’s name, employer, and hometown.

Initially, Goodson had wanted sexual cyber harassment to be a felony. Because of the severity of the charges, the law failed to pass in the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions. Now, the bill makes the initial offense a misdemeanor, with subsequent offenses a third-degree felony. First-time offenders of sexual cyber harassment can face up to a year in jail, and repeat offenders stand to face up to five years. However, the law only covers “revenge porn” posted on a website. Content considered “revenge porn” can still be shared legally via text, email, and social media sites such as Snapchat.

Florida has seen its fair share of “revenge porn” incidents, including a shocking case last June, when a person solicited explicit photos of schoolgirls in Brevard Country High School. In this case, the suspect posted all the photos to Instagram, along with private information of the girls in the photos. No charges have been filed regarding the case. Another incident involves a woman whose ex-boyfriend posted a sex tape of her on Facebook. In this case, the woman wasn’t even aware that she was being recorded at the time the video was taken. Even though the video was taken down by Facebook soon after, she can never be sure if it was removed from the web entirely.

With revenge porn emerging as a growing concern for people, Florida’s new law offers some hope that the law can back up victims of such aggravating cyber harassment. Some websites exist purely to share videos and images involving “revenge porn”.

Victims of “revenge porn” face job displacement, further harassment or stalking, and severe emotional distress. If you, or someone you love, have recently been a victim of sexual cyber harassment, contact Morgan & Morgan to learn more about your legal options.

By Staff

Writer

comments