Revenge porn bill passes MS Senate

Revenge porn bill passes MS Senate
Senator Sally Doty, of Brookhaven, filed the bill and warns young people to be careful about what’s on their phone. Source: MS Legislature

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - What’s being called a revenge porn bill has passed the Mississippi Senate.

SB 2528 would create civil and criminal penalties for sharing “intimate visual material."

The bill defines that as material that shows a person with their intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct.

Senator Sally Doty, of Brookhaven, is filing the bill after previous failed attempts.

The bill addresses three issues: revenge porn, “sextortion” and sexting between minors. For revenge porn, when people are sending photos or video intended to be private, there would be civil penalties created.

“I think one of the most valuable tools though, is a specific provision regarding a temporary restraining order," said Doty. "You can go to the court, get a temporary restraining order and every violation is a $1,000.”

The bill also covers “sextortion” or extortion. That would be when someone gets the intimate photos intended to remain private and then threatens to publish them.

“And then says, I’m going to put this out there unless you pay me x number of dollars, or unless you have this sort of relationship with me or do this sort of act for me,” added Doty.

Finally, there is a section that addresses sexting. Doty noted that the bill would have those matters stay in youth court. She says the idea being that minors who have made mistakes shouldn’t end up with a charge that forces them to end up on the sex offender registry and stick with them for life.

Doty said she saw other states had a similar law and read some articles about egregious situations, but since introducing the bill, has had several women contact her.

The damage had already been done by the time Jennifer Patrick found herself in a cyber-fight after breaking things off with her ex.

“Why would I want God and everybody to see those pictures, now knowing that it was a mistake?" asked Jennifer Patrick. "I never thought they’d go between me and him and the fence post.”

The ex posted photos of her first on his Facebook page. Then on a dating site, creating three different account, with those pictures included.

“He was giving out my phone number with those pictures and my phone was blowing up with all these different guys from different states texting me," said Patrick. "And I’m like, ‘what’s going on?’”

She tried to file charges, but there were questions in court about how to prove it was the ex and not her posting those photos. She’s since reached out to Sen. Sally Doty to share her story.

The bill now moves to the House for more discussion.

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