'Revenge porn' protection bill unanimously passes House committee

02/10/2016 04:02 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would prohibit the distribution of sexually explicit images without the consent of the person depicted unanimously passed a House committee on Wednesday.

House Bill 110, sponsored by Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, is aimed at protecting individuals from having private and possibly sexually explicit images, from being posted online without their permission.

The legislation, known as the “revenge porn” bill would make distribution of sexually charged images without consent a Class A misdemeanor unless it is done for profit, in which case it is a Class D felony.

Jefferson County prosecutor Jeff Metzmeier told committee members that he has seen a growing number of cases where an ex-spouse or partner release photos as a means of intimidation or harassment.

Metzmeier said that he has had victims come in his office but he’s been unable to file any charges because of a lack of applicable laws in the commonwealth.

“The victim will come into my office and she’s horrified, it can be a he, but it’s mostly women, because someone in a malicious fashion has taken private pictures or videos when they were a couple and they blasted them on the internet,” Metzmeier said. “One of the problems that I saw early on that there was no statute to cover that act.”

Michelle Kelty and Kristy Nevitt, both of Louisville, got emotional as they told committee members that several years ago they learned that a former employer took inappropriate photos of them including images down their blouses or from under their skirts.

While the photographs have not been released as of now, they are concerned that they could surface one day and constantly live in fear of that possibility.

“We are both still dealing with this on a daily basis,” Kelty said. “It has been humiliating, fearful; we have no idea where those pictures are. We have no idea where those pictures could end up.”

Nevitt testified that the experience makes he feel like a victim of sexual abuse.

“I mean you feel all of the same feelings as any kind of sexual abuse survivor,” Nevitt said. “Anyone that has been raped, anyone that has been touched. This is a 21st century crime of sexual abuse on women.”

The bill moves on to the full House for consideration.

About Don Weber

Don Weber joined cn|2 when it launched back in May 2010 and soon became a reporter for Pure Politics. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and has spent many years covering everything from politics to sports. Don says he loves meeting new people everyday as part of his job and also enjoys the fact that no two days are the same when he comes to work. Don Weber can be reached at donald.weber@charter.com.

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