Missouri House Advances Bill Criminalizing Revenge Porn

Feb 21, 2018
Originally published on February 21, 2018 3:51 pm

The Missouri House of Representatives heard and advanced a bill Tuesday night that would criminalize the practice of revenge porn. The bill makes it a felony when an image that would reasonably be understood as private, is intentionally shared without the knowledge or consent from the other party.


Members of the House of Representatives added three amendments to the bill.

One amendment, presented by the bill’s sponsor Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron, would criminalize not only the distribution of images, but also threatening to share such images.

Another amendment, brought by Rep. Gina Mitten, D-St. Louis, gives victims of revenge porn the ability to seek civil action in addition to criminal charges.

Multiple representatives commended the bill, with some noting its importance in today’s climate.

“We’ve seen this year, how vulnerable people can be when it comes to government, either being accused of sexual exploitation or exploiting women and children etcetera, that we’ve seeing time in and time out with the “Me Too” movement,” Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, said.

Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, showed support for the bill, but worried about its broad language. He said the bill does not leave room to address a range of potential crimes and that the punishment needs to fit the crime committed.

“I would ask that as you move this bill through the Senate that you work to really look at the criminal penalty that’s been offered here,” Christofanelli said.

If the bill is passed on a third reading, it will be sent to the Senate.

A similar bill was proposed last year, but ultimately did not become law.

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