Politico

Lawmakers target ‘revenge porn’ in bipartisan bill

Written by Lisa

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation that would criminalize “revenge porn” after one of their own, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), had a nude image of himself shared without consent last week.

The legislation offered by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) would make the non-consensual circulation of private, graphic imagery a federal criminal offense. The sharing of “revenge porn,” already barred by law in more than 30 states and Washington D.C., made headlines last week when Barton apologized following the online circulation of a nude selfie.

Barton said that the Capitol Police are investigating any possible crime connected to the online release of his private photo, which he said stemmed from consensual “relationships with other mature adult women” after his marriage ended.

In order for the dissemination of the picture to qualify as a federal crime under the legislation introduced Tuesday, the individual involved in circulating the photo would have to be “aware of a substantial risk that the victim expected the image would remain private and that the sharing could cause harm to the victim.”

Speier introduced a bill last year that would create federal criminal liability for “revenge porn.” Other original cosponsors of the legislation include Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) as well as GOP Reps. Tom Rooney of Florida, Walter Jones of North Carolina, Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania.

Rachael Bade contributed to this report.

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