Civil remedy revenge porn bill passes House

Hoosiers hurting from the aftermath of a revenge porn incident are closer to gaining some relief from their perpetrators now that a bill that would offer them civil remedies has passed both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly. Measures that would make committing revenge porn a crime, however, look less likely to succeed.

Senate Bill 192 unanimously passed the Indiana House of Representatives on Monday. The bill involves the distribution of nonconsensual pornography and specifically applies in circumstances where intimate images are used to embarrass, harm or profit from the victim.

SB 192 would also create a civil cause of action against a person who discloses an intimate image of someone without that person’s consent. Victims may recover economic and noneconomic damages, or no more than $10,000 in statutory damages, plus attorney's fees, court costs and other relief, including injunctive relief.

House sponsor Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica, told fellow legislators Monday that the issue of nonconsensual pornography represents a large-scale problem that needs to be addressed.

“This is another tool in the tool chest,” Negele said of SB 192. Seeming to agree, the House of Representatives unanimously voted in favor of the bill. The legislation was then returned to the Senate without amendments.

But progress has been slower for related measures that would take that recourse one step further by criminalizing the posting of nonconsensual pornography.

Senate Bill 243 and House Bill 1333 provide that a person who knows an individual in an intimate photo does not consent to the posting of that image, but proceeds to post the image anyway, could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty would increase to a Level 6 felony for a second or subsequent offense.

Both measures passed their houses of origin. SB 243 is scheduled for second reading in the House Tuesday, but HB 1333 has yet to receive a hearing in the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee.

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