The plight of a Hamilton Southeastern teacher has been instrumental in improving Indiana's chances of adopting its first criminal sanctions for pornography of revenge.
Separate bills, both in the House and in the Senate, are in the process of being passed, which seemed unlikely a month ago.
Both measures would prohibit the transmission of intimate photographs of a person without consent. The House passed its version, Bill 1333, by 95-0 on Tuesday. A Senate committee approved a similar bill, Bill 2434, by 7 am on Tuesday and 7 minutes, and it is referred to the entire House.
The authors of the bill, Senator Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, and Rep. Mike Speedy, R-Indianapolis, have all attributed to the teacher the willingness of lawmakers to advance legislation. They expect the details of the bill to change, perhaps in a general way, but everyone hopes that one of the bills will pass.
"It's just heartbreaking when you hear the depressions of depravity that someone is ready to embarrass someone," Freeman said. "I believe that every fiber of my being should be a crime and that we should be better than that as a society."
The teacher, whom IndyStar has not identified because of the nature of her incident, said at least three committee meetings this year that in 2014 her ex-husband sent intimate images of herself to HSE administrators, school board members, parents, and community members. and male staff.
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"I thought all my world was falling apart"
"When someone tries to dismantle you as a human being," she told a committee of the Chamber of Deputies, "rebuilding your identity is a slow and painful process. thought all my world was just collapsing in front of me … losing everything I loved. "
The police told him that he had not violated the laws, she said, and she discovered that there was no way forward in civil law . Instead, she found herself asking to keep her own job – which she did.
"The police did everything in their power and we soon discovered that it was very little," she told the committee. "Nothing prevents anyone from distributing photos."
In the current state of affairs, victims have little recourse under Indiana law and recent attempts to make porn revenge a crime are not very advanced.
Senator Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, had postponed his efforts to hear the bills criminalizing pornography of revenge in the committee he chairs, Corrections and Criminal Law.
Young, R-Indianapolis, told IndyStar in January that he was considering the decision made by people to take intimate pictures as a contract. As such, he said, violating this contract by sharing images without permission should be a civil, not a criminal case.
He supported a civil bill passed by his committee on January 9th. The measure, Senate Bill 192, sponsored by Senator Mike Bohacek, was passed by Senate 47-1 on February 12. It would allow victims to sue $ 10,000 or actual damages, whichever is more, when someone displays or distributes his or her intimate image without consent.
Young finally held a hearing on Freeman's revenge porn bill on Tuesday, although he insisted on making changes. Young essentially increased the burden of proof on what constitutes consent and applied it only to images or videos shared on the Internet.
"The bill has completely changed," Young said. "It's a section where someone without permission from the other takes pictures and puts them on the Internet."
Punishment for offenses
In both bills, the first offenses would be class A offenses, punishable by up to one year's imprisonment, punishable by level 6 crimes for the second offense, punishable by a sentence of up to up to two and a half years.
There is another potential blockage as bills go up. Indiana lawmakers are still reviewing their bills to ensure compliance with the Constitution.
While more than 40 states have enacted legislation that provides for various penalties for pornographic revenge, the courts have tried to ensure that these bills give due consideration to the rights to freedom of expression in the first amendment.
In 2015, an Arizona court overturned a law criminalizing porn revenge, claiming the language was too broad. This state set this law the following year.
Call Star's reporter Chris Sikich at 317 444-6036. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisSikich.