Louisiana House bill would make distributing 'private image' photos a crime _lowres

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- State Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, spoke Tuesday in support of legislation that would make it a crime to disclose a personal photo without permission.

It’s a big issue for starlets in Hollywood.

In Louisiana, disclosing “a private image” could soon be a crime. A legislative committee on Tuesday advanced a measure that would create the crime of of “nonconsensual disclosure.”

State Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, said that in age of increased technology, cell phones with cameras are ubiquitous.

“The problem of people taking these images of themselves or allowing someone else to do so has gotten to be relatively prolific,” Stokes said. “While it’s unfortunate that these images get captured in the first place, I think it’s important that we present a law saying that in Louisiana we’re just not going to tolerate these things getting forwarded.”

The images distributed on the Internet can be used to harass and belittle the subject. And while children are protected under existing child pornographic laws, there is not nothing to legally prohibit the distribution of such images of adults, she said.

Stokes’ proposed House Bill 489 creates the crime of nonconsensual disclosure of a private image of another who is over the age of 17 and whose intimate parts are exposed. This legislation also provides for a maximum $10,000 fine and/or a prison term of up to two years.

The House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice approved HB489 without dissent. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

The issue came to the forefront in September 2014 when hacker-accessed photos on the cell phones of more than 100 celebrities through the cloud-based storage and posted nude images on line. Actress Jennifer Lawrence threatened to prosecute anyone who published the photos. And actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead tweeted that the images were taken in her home by her husband were nobody’s business.

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