UNITED STATES NEWS

Massachusetts Senate passes bill aimed at outlawing “revenge porn”

Mar 21, 2024, 1:18 PM

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts bill that bars someone from sharing explicit images or videos without consent was approved Thursday by the Massachusetts Senate.

The bill, which now goes to conference committee to hash out differences with the House, means only South Carolina has not banned “revenge porn.”

“With passage of this bill today we take another step towards closing a loophole in our laws that has caused pain, anguish, embarrassment, and a sense of helplessness to those survivors who for so long suffered in silence, without justice,” Democratic Sen. John Keenan, the sponsor of the Senate bill, said in a statement.

“I am deeply grateful to the those who shared their stories and advocated for change to ensure others would not have to suffer as they have,” he said. “For every case we know of, countless others remain hidden, so I hope passage of this legislation by the Senate will soon lead to the bill being signed into law by the Governor.”

Sen. Paul Feeney, who recognized that several victims were the gallery during the debate, said the bill addresses the “embarrassment, helplessness and shame” that comes from learning that your explicit images were on a website and that there was nothing you could do legally to address it.

“Although it pains me that we even have to deal with this, I am thrilled that we are here sending a message and showing residents of the commonwealth that we will no longer stand by as people are victimized and abused” he said. “Make no mistake about it, it is emotional and sexual abuse, and we are taking steps here today to send a message that we hear you.”

Minors who possess, purchase, or share explicit photos of themselves or other minors can currently be charged with violating the state’s child pornography laws and are required to register as sex offenders.

The bill would instead authorize commitment to the Department of Youth Services, but it also allows minors to be diverted to an educational program instead of criminal punishment. The diversion program would teach teenagers about the legal and nonlegal consequences of sexting and would be available to school districts.

The legislation would also address the nonconsensual distribution of explicit images by adults by establishing a penalty in the existing criminal harassment statute, including up to 2 1/2 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The criminal ban would also extend to what are known as deep fake pornography, which use computer-generated images.

Coercive control, which advocates describe as a pattern of deliberate behavior by an abuser that substantially restricts another person’s safety and autonomy, would also be added to the definition of abuse under the bill. Examples of coercive control include threatening to share explicit images, regulating or monitoring a family or household member’s communications and access to services, and isolating a family or household member from friends or relatives.

The legislation would also extend the statute of limitations for assault and battery on a family or household member or against someone with an active protective order from six years to 15 years.

This change would bring the Massachusetts statute of limitations for the domestic violence offenses in line with the statute of limitations for rape, assault with intent to commit rape and sex trafficking.

United States News

Associated Press

Autoworkers union celebrates breakthrough win in Tennessee and takes aim at more plants in the South

DALLAS (AP) — The United Auto Workers’ overwhelming election victory at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee is giving the union hope that it can make broader inroads in the South, the least unionized part of the country. The UAW won a stunning 73% of the vote at VW after losing elections in 2014 and 2019. […]

25 minutes ago

Associated Press

Conditions improve for students shot in Maryland park on ‘senior skip day’

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — Three of the five youths shot in a suburban Washington, D.C., park during a high school “senior skip day” gathering have been released from the hospital, while the condition of the most seriously injured has improved, authorities said Saturday. Police in Greenbelt, Maryland, are asking the public to share video footage […]

59 minutes ago

Associated Press

New York lawmakers pass $237 billion budget addressing housing construction and migrants

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York lawmakers passed a $237 billion state budget Saturday that includes plans to spur housing construction and combat unlicensed marijuana stores. The package also includes a raft of other measures ranging from expediting the closure of some state prisons, addressing the recent influx of migrants, and continuing the pandemic-era policy […]

1 hour ago

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO - DECEMBER 9, 2019: A copy of the record album, 'Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison'...

Associated Press

Record Store Day celebrates indie retail music sellers as they ride vinyl’s popularity wave

Record Store Day, a holiday invented at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees in 2007, will be observed Saturday.

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Former Arkansas governor, US Sen David Pryor dies at 89

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former Arkansas governor and U.S. Sen. David Pryor, a Democrat who was one of the state’s most beloved political figures and remained active in public service in the state long after he left office, has died. He was 89. Pryor, who went undercover to investigate nursing homes while a congressman, […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

A rabbi serving 30 years to life in his wife’s contract killing has died, prison officials say

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey rabbi serving a decadeslong sentence in a 1994 murder-for-hire plot targeting his wife has died. Fred Neulander, 82, was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday at a hospital in Trenton after he was found unresponsive in his cell in the New Jersey State Prison infirmary, news outlets […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Massachusetts Senate passes bill aimed at outlawing “revenge porn”