LegislatureNews

Colorado House passes changes to revenge porn law

Author: Joey Bunch - April 4, 2018 - Updated: April 12, 2018

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(Photo by junce, istockphoto)

DENVER — The Colorado House made quick work of toughening up Colorado’s four-year-old revenge porn law Tuesday. The House gave unanimous approval to the legislation, sending House Bill 1264 to the Senate.

Revenge porn is the sharing of private, often sexual videos or photographs of a former partner, or in some cases they are stolen by hackers and blackmailers.

The bill closes loopholes in the 2014 law, including protecting public servants who could be vulnerable to the release of personal sexual materials under the shield that the information is “newsworthy.”

The changes aso broaden out the definition to include images of sex acts that might not include nudity, as well as removing a requirement to prove that a person intended to cause emotional distress.

The current law doesn’t adequately protect domestic violence victims who are coerced by the threat of having private materials released, say its sponsors.

The bill was sponsored in the House by Reps. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora, and Terri Carver, R-Colorado Springs. In the Senate, it will be carried by Sens. John Cooke, R-Greeley, and Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora.

“The DAs and others have noticed there are loopholes in the law being exploited to get around prosecution,” Carver said on the House floor Monday, before a preliminary vote. “This bill is to close those loopholes.”

Jackson said the bill better protects victims while still mindful of the First Amendment.

“This bill reflects lessons learned in the four years of enforcement since our revenge porn law was originally passed,” she said in a statement.

Legislative analysts found 53 people had been convicted on the class one misdemeanor offense since Jan. 1, 2015, when it took effect, and last Dec. 31. Forty-six were men and seven were women.

While pointing out that 38 states have laws making revenge porn illegal, the nonprofit Cyber Civil Rights Initiative said the title of misleading.

“Many perpetrators are not motivated by revenge or by any personal feelings toward the victim,” the organization states on its website. “A more accurate term is nonconsensual pornography (NCP), defined as the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.