Opinion
May 13, 2015

“Revenge porn” law awaits governor’s signature

By Elizabeth Hewitt, VTDigger.org

A bill that would criminalize so-called “revenge porn” is on its way to the governor’s desk after passing a final voice vote in the Senate on Wednesday, May 6. More than a dozen other states have similar laws.

H.105 establishes criminal penalties for sharing intimate photos and videos without the consent of the individual(s) photographed. The person who shares the image often is trying to seek retribution.

The bill sets a penalty for sharing such images with the intention of inflicting harm at up to two years in prison and a fine of $2,000. The penalties are increased to $5,000 and five years in prison if the photos are shared for financial gain.

The amendment the Senate accepted Wednesday came from the House and included a small adjustment to the bill that passed the Senate last month.

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that he initially thought that he would not support H.105, but after hearing testimony he changed his mind about the necessity for criminal penalties.

“I think that when the behavior is such that you’re trying to get back at somebody, it’s similar in my view now to domestic violence,” Sears said.

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