Democratic legislators propose law to criminalize ‘revenge porn’

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder announced his support of a bill to criminalize revenge porn. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

New legislation has been proposed to the Nassau County Legislature that would effectively penalize those who post intimate images of another individual as an act of revenge.

This action is commonly referred to as revenge porn and under the proposal, violators could face up to a year of jail time as well as a $1,000 fine.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Legislators Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) and Debra Mulé (D-Freeport), who jointly held a news conference on Tuesday.

“While the internet has placed the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, it also allows malicious individuals to cause tremendous harm at ease,” Drucker said. “By creating the legal tools to punish perpetrators of revenge porn, we give victims of this heinous act the voice they deserve under the law.”

Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced their support of the proposal at the news conference.

“The Nassau County Police Department supports the enactment of any law that will protect individuals from harassment, coercion or bullying through the dissemination of intimate images,” Ryder said.

Singas said prosecutors frequently “have to work with survivors who are being threatened with having their pictures sent to their job, family or posted on social media.”

“Domestic violence cases involve power, control and manipulation, and abusers regularly use revenge pornography to target their intimate partners,” she said.

She said the state does not have a statute that “adequately addresses revenge pornography.”

A bill that would make revenge porn illegal on the state level was put off in June and is expected to be voted on this year.

Laws like that proposed by Mulé and Drucker are in effect in New York City and Suffolk County.

Elizabeth Osowiecki, an education coordinator at The Safe Center Long Island, told the story of 15-year-old Audrie Pott, a victim of revenge porn in California.

When Pott was unconscious, boys who she thought were her friends allegedly raped her and then shared the images online and around their school.

Eight days after the incident, Pott committed suicide.

“As a social worker and mother of young adult daughters, I am keenly aware of the havoc that is unleashed when intimate images are maliciously distributed,” Mulé said. “Enacting a revenge porn ban will empower Nassau County to immediately protect residents from this horrific invasion of privacy and ensure those who engage in this disturbing practice face meaningful consequences.”

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