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Revenge Porn ban makes another step to becoming law

Two Utah lawmakers want to keep private, intimate moments behind closed doors. The “Revenge Porn Bill” passed the House and is now up for debate in the Senate. It would make it illegal for someone intending to harm another person to share sexually-explicit images or videos without permission.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 UTAH)- Two Utah lawmakers want to keep private, intimate moments behind closed doors. The “Revenge Porn Bill” passed the House and is now up for debate in the Senate. It would make it illegal for someone intending to harm another person to share sexually-explicit images or videos without permission.

It’s pretty simple where this comes from. You send your partner or spouse a sexy picture of yourself or they take a video of you with a hidden camera. Next, you break-up. If your ex then sends that material to someone else or posts it online, that could soon be a felony in the state of Utah.

What happens in your bedroom, with a click of a mouse, can now be seen by anyone with internet access. It’s called revenge porn and it’s a growing problem in Utah and across the nation.

“I wasn't aware of it and one of my friends saw it and told me,” said L.S. a woman who says she’s a victim of revenge porn.

We first introduced you to L.S. back in October when she spoke exclusively to Marcos Ortiz. Now, a bill is making its way through the Utah legislative process that could’ve put her victimizer behind bars.

“I was devastated. I wanted to kill him and I haven't talked to him since,” said L.S.

“Revenge Porn Bill” author representative Marie Poulson is speaking out for all victims.

“You can't control it once it’s out there. People are always whispering about what's happened to you,” said Rep. Marie Poulson.

Getting the bill to its current version meant clarifying a few things for other lawmakers.

“The way the original bill was drafted, is you do this and you're guilty. And we have narrowed this bill significantly,” said Rep. Craig Hall.

One change is that social media sites like Facebook can’t be criminally charged for being the medium in which these explicit posts were shared. But other sites, that specifically market revenge porn, could be at fault.

“Those are particularly the type of providers who we don't want to escape liability particularly in a very broad definition that could be included in the statute,” said Poulson.

Right now, two Utah men Kenneth Winward and Shon Handrahan both face charges for allegedly sending pornographic photos of their ex’s to family members. Current Utah law doesn’t have the language to adequately prosecute these actions.

“This creates a punishment for those who are taking part in this awful behavior,” said Hall.

Both Winward and Handrahan have court dates for each of their cases in March. The two lawmakers who wrote the bill hope to have it voted into law this week.

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