Florida Legislature passes bill to criminalize revenge porn

May 6th, 2015 by Staff

The legislation received a nearly unanimous approval on Monday.


(WSVN.COM) TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Scorned lovers who try to get back at their exes with revenge porn could soon face criminal charges.
Carly Hellstrom, a Florida State University student, who was a victim of revenge porn herself, was instrumental in making that possible.

The bill makes it a crime to post explicit pictures of an ex on a website. It’s an important first step that proponents have fought a long time for, including many like Hellstrom.

The bill received almost unanimous approval from the Florida Senate Monday morning. The chamber passed legislation making it illegal to post explicit pictures of someone without their permission on the Internet. The first offense would be a misdemeanor, and the second a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

It’s an epidemic that has ruined lives across the nation, including South Florida. On Feb. 26, during a press conference for one such case, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said, “Revenge porn is usually uploaded by ex-partners, ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands with the intention, the very specific, deliberate, malicious intention, of shaming, embarrassing and humiliating the pictured individual.”

That case involved 38-year-old Anthony Giansante, who was arrested in February for posting pictures of his former girlfriend all over cyberspace. Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel J. Oates said, “There are many different and horrible ways that men perpetuate sexual violence upon women, and this is the newest and latest way that it’s done.”

One of the sponsors of the legislation was Senator David Simmons. He was moved to action after hearing Hellstrom’s story. Hellstrom, who recently graduated from FSU, pushed for legislation after being the victim of revenge porn by an ex-boyfriend.

After seeing the bill pass, she was beyond ecstatic. “I just hadn’t been nervous for something like that in a really long time,” she said over the phone, “and then I started crying when he passed it because I was so happy. Then I called my mom.”

The bill that passed did not fully contain everything it’s proponents wanted, however. The senate’s original bill also included text messages and e-mails. However, the house limited their version solely to websites. Once they adjourned, the senate was only able to vote on that bill. Hellstrom hopes the issue will again get attention the next time legislators meet in the next legislative session.


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