Lackey introduces bill for stronger revenge porn penalties

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Through a new bill introduced in Sacramento, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, is proposing stronger revenge porn penalties by requiring that anyone convicted of the crime register as a sex offender. 

Lackey announced Tuesday that Assembly Bill 2065 would also make the distribution of revenge porn a felony and a misdemeanor to threaten the distribution of sexually explicit content with the intent to hurt someone’s reputation. 

As the vice chairman of the California State Public Safety committee, Lackey received “an increase in statewide confidential correspondences over the years asking the assemblyman to make revenge porn laws stronger,” said George Andrews, Lackey’s chief of staff. 

“It’s been a steady flow on this specific topic since the assemblyman was put in the committee in 2015. The general tone of most letters is that the law needs more teeth than just a slap on the wrist so potential offenders will think twice before violating someone’s reputation.” 

Under current law, revenge porn in California is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by custody in county jail for up to six months and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. 

“Distributing revenge porn is a sex crime. We need to start treating it like one,” Lackey said in a prepared statement. “The long-term consequences of this crime are devastating for victims. It’s time for California to send a message that victimizing someone by publishing intimate photos or videos without their consent cannot, and will not, be tolerated.”

The introduction of AB 2065 in Sacramento follows the sudden resignation of former Rep. Katie Hill, who stepped down from Congress last fall amid a House ethics investigation into a sexual relationship with one of her congressional staffers. Those allegations came in the aftermath of an alleged revenge porn leak. 

Lackey’s proposal was brought forward as “it’s been an issue before that incident,” said Andrews. “That specific case shows that it can happen to women at the highest levels of our society. (Former) Congresswoman Hill’s case is validation it’s real.”  

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