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Massachusetts Passes Bill on Revenge Porn

Posted on January 31, 2024 in

As of January 10, 2024, Massachusetts has a new law prohibiting revenge porn, or the spreading of sexually explicit content of another person without that person’s consent. If an individual is convicted of this crime under the new law, the penalties can include imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. If you or a loved one gets arrested on suspicion of a revenge porn offense, contact the Concord criminal defense lawyers at Spring & Spring right away for a free consultation.

What Is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn refers to distributing revealing, nude or sexually explicit images or videos of a person on the internet without that person’s consent. This offense typically involves a former sexual partner who distributes the images with intent to harm, distress or embarrass the subject. Revenge porn has become a more prominent issue in recent years due to the internet providing a place to share revealing or intimate images of other people in a way that is meant to hurt the subjects.

What Is Massachusetts’ New Revenge Porn Law?

Under Massachusetts’ new revenge porn law, distributing explicit, nude or sexual photos of someone else without that person’s permission is a crime, even if the individual consented to the images originally being captured. The new law updates the language of Massachusetts’ existing definition of abuse to include mental abuse and coercive control. The new law also creates a diversion program to educate minors who are caught with nude images of others rather than charging them with possession of child pornography or other sex crimes.

Details of the New Legislation Passed

On January 10, 2024, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation prohibiting revenge porn in a unanimous 151-0 vote. The package of legislation approved by the Judiciary Committee included H.4241, H.1745, S.1012, H.1567 and H.4370. These Acts were passed to prevent the following:

  • Abuse and exploitation
  • The transmission of indecent visual depictions by teens
  • The unlawful distribution of explicit images

These bills added language to the Commonwealth’s existing criminal harassment laws to focus on technological contributions – namely, the non-consensual sharing of explicit images of others. Massachusetts was one of the last two states in the country without laws against revenge porn; now, South Carolina is the last remaining state.

Potential Defenses to Revenge Porn Charges

If you are charged with allegedly violating Massachusetts’ new laws against revenge porn or criminal harassment, contact an experienced Concord defense attorney without delay. Protect yourself by using your right to remain silent during the arrest and any subsequent interviews or interrogations by police officers. State that you wish to have an attorney present.

Potential defenses to revenge porn charges in Massachusetts include:

  • No intent to distribute the images
  • Accidental image distribution
  • No intent to cause the subject harm or emotional distress
  • Unidentifiable subject
  • Consent or permission from the subject

A lawyer can tailor a defense strategy to your unique circumstances. An experienced sex crimes defense lawyer in Massachusetts will understand the language of the new law and the available defense options. At Spring & Spring, our lawyers have defended clients against criminal accusations for more than 20 years. Attorney Spring is a former prosecutor who knows how the other side operates. Call (617) 513-9444 for a free and confidential case review or contact us online.