NY poised to join 41 states in criminalizing revenge porn

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Lawmakers in New York voted to join 41 other states in criminalizing revenge porn Thursday, passing legislation that would make it a misdemeanor to disseminate explicit photos of a person without their consent.

The measure would also allow victims to file lawsuits against the person responsible for distributing their photos. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the bill and is expected to sign it into law.

During debate in the state Assembly and Senate, supporters argued that criminal penalties are warranted due to the deeply personally and emotionally injurious nature of the offense.

“This violence seeks to cripple the soul,” said Sen. James Sanders, D-Queens.

Often, revenge porn involves images originally meant to remain private between two people in a relationship that are disseminated by one partner once the couple splits.

Under the proposed change, someone guilty of the crime could face up to a year in prison.

Debated for years, the bill had been held up over concerns that internet companies could be held legally responsible for inadvertently allowing revenge porn photos online. The bill was tweaked this year to address that concern, easing the way for passage in both legislative chambers.

Backers of the bill bemoaned the delay, saying revenge porn has only proliferated as texting and social media have grown in use and popularity.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the bill and is expected to sign it once it reaches his desk.

“This disgusting and insidious behavior, which can follow victims around their entire lives, has no place in New York,” Cuomo said in a statement Thursday.