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March 12, 2018 |

“Revenge Porn” in New York City Can Now Lead to a Year in Jail Under New Ordinance

Defined generally as online harassment by an ex-partner, hacker, or others who post sexually explicit images of a person online without their permission, “revenge porn” has victimized hundreds of thousands of individuals – overwhelmingly women – over the past decade. That’s why 38 states have passed laws making revenge porn a criminal offense. New York State, however, is not one of them. That inaction in Albany is what led New York City to make the posting of revenge porn a crime in the city, effective February 2018.

The New York City Council unanimously passed the new ordinance in November 2017. It is now a misdemeanor offense in the city to:

“disclose an intimate image, without the depicted individual’s consent, with the intent to cause economic, physical or substantial emotional harm to such depicted individual, where such depicted individual is or would be identifiable to another individual either from the intimate image or from the circumstances under which such image is disclosed.”

It is also an offense to threaten to post revenge porn even if you never actually do so.

What is an "Intimate Image"? A Brooklyn Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains

An “intimate image” which could result in a conviction under the ordinance is defined as 

“a photograph, film, videotape, recording or any other reproduction of an image of a depicted individual that has been disclosed or threatened to be disclosed in a manner in which, or to a person or audience to whom, the depicted individual intended it would not be disclosed…”

In order for an image or video to be considered revenge porn under the ordinance, it also must show the “depicted individual”:

  • With fully or partially exposed intimate body parts
  • With another individual whose intimate body parts are exposed, as recorded immediately before or after the occurrence of sexual activity between those individuals OR
  • Engaged in sexual activity.

A conviction for violation of the ordinance is punishable of up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine, or both. Additionally, the ordinance provides that a victim of revenge porn may sue the person who posted the image or video for compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

A recent study found that one in 10 women under age 30 say they have been a revenge porn victim. According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, it is estimated that 1 in 20 adult social media users have posted revenge porn online, although 79% of those who did so claimed that they didn’t intend to hurt the person who was the subject of the image or video.

At Epstein & Conroy, we are experienced in revenge porn cases.  We offer free, confidential initial consultations to those accused of misdemeanor offenses such as revenge porn. Our Brooklyn criminal defense lawyers can evaluate the charges, advise you of your options, and speak with prosecutors on your behalf. While we will seek to minimize the consequences of a trial conviction or negotiated plea, our first priority in every case we handle is to seek a dismissal of the charges.

Please call (718) 852-6763 to speak with an experienced Brooklyn criminal defense lawyer now.

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