DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a push at the state capitol to get tough punishments for so-called revenge pornography.
The practice of angry ex-husbands, ex-wives or ex-boyfriends or girlfriends posting intimate photos that were never intended for public viewing online for revenge and humiliation is becoming a big enough problem that Colorado and other states are trying to work out ways to combat it.
A CBS4 investigation recently reported on a website run by a Colorado man that had more than 700 revenge porn photos posted on it. (Full Story)
“It is incredibly difficult — if not impossible — to prosecute,” said State Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Colorado Springs.
Studies show one in three women are victims of the practice.
“This is well thought out intentioned — with forethought — maliciousness,” Stephens said.
Stephens introduced a bill Monday that would make so-called revenge porn a felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a mandatory $10,000 fine.
“Someone who does this just once has literally punched out another human being online without them knowing. (The victim) has no say in the matter and can never get that back,” she said.
Not only is it used to embarrass, State Rep. Dan Pabon, the bill’s co-sponsor, says it is used to entrap people.
“In a domestic violence situation there are people who are threatening spouses with these photos if they leave,” said Pabon, D-Denver.
While those who post the photos argue they own them, Pabon says revenge porn is not protected speech.
“You have no right to embarrass someone. You have no right to put someone through emotional and physical trauma. You have no right to say to someone ‘I’m going to take a picture that you sent to me in confidence and suddenly destroy your life, your reputation and your job,” he said.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 other states have passed or are considering similar legislation.