What if Revenge Porn happened in the OV?

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Revenge Porn is when somebody posts or sends out sexually explicit images or videos without the consent of the person to cause them harm, distress or embarrassment, and in West Virginia it could be a felony.

The West Virginia house and senate unanimously passed a law earlier this year punishing those who partake in any such act related to revenge porn.

“This is really specifically so people won’t be harassed or coerced, typically, by their ex-boyfriend,” said 7News Legal Expert Diana Crutchfield.

A first conviction of distributing revenge porn is a misdemeanor crime. You’d face a fine, and potential jail time, then the second offense is a felony. Crutchfield tells 7News 90% of revenge porn victims are women between the ages of 18-and-30, and that it’s something they hadn’t really dealt with until now.

“This is a sign of the times,” she told 7News Reporter Nick Conigliaro. “We have these problems and the Legislature felt the needed to step in and criminalize behavior. Make it so the state of West Virginia could take away your freedom, take away your money if you committed this act.”

Even if it’s two consenting adults exchanging sexually explicit photos, if it’s sent elsewhere without permission of one of the parties, that’s where the issues begin.

“You would meet that element of displaying it publicly, you would meet the element of it not having her consent,” said Crutchfield. “The question would be are you doing it to embarrass her or humiliate her or harass her or coerce her, and those are elements a prosecutor would have to prove.”

Along with West Virginia, 37 other states in the US plus the District of Columbia have created laws also criminalizing revenge porn.

“Obviously it’s becoming a problem enough that we’ve decided as a society that we want the government to step-in and criminalize it,” Crutchfield said. “To be able to blame somebody and punish somebody.”

Crutchfield continued to say she does not believe this is a first amendment issue because it’s not about the possession of pornography, but the non-consenting distribution of it that’s the problem.

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