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Utah's voyeurism law prevents 'upskirting'

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) –Women have the right to privacy in Utah unlike their counterparts in Massachusetts.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) –Women have the right to privacy in Utah unlike their counterparts in Massachusetts.
Wednesday, the Supreme Court in Massachusetts called “upskirting” legal. As a result, charges were reversed against a man accused of taking pictures of women beneath their skirts without their permission.

But Utah’s voyeurism law still has some wiggle room for perpetrators. It allowed Erik Alvarado to go free.

“He was actually using the device to record women,” says Veronica Montoya of the Salt Lake City police department.

He was caught in 2010 at the farmer’s market.
Police say Alvarado was “upskirting” women with a device that he had attached to this shoe.

"They definitely thought he was, as well as the evidence we had against him,” says Montoya.

But charges were never filed against Alvarado.

“Unfortunately we did not have any victims who came forward,” she says.

Yet Jordan Draper was. In 2013, he was arrested and later pleaded guilty to “upskirting” someone at the mall.
Prosecutors say the difference was testimony from a victim.

“You have to have that other person who says ‘yes, my rights have been violated,’” says Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill.

For now, Utah's laws do protect women from “upskirting”.
In Massachusetts their supreme court ruled it was legal because their voyeurism law only addresses nude parts of the body. Some legal experts say the ruling in Massachusetts may create openings in other states.

“So there could be like challenges saying ‘you know what they were not really nude in that part of the picture or that statute really talks about somebody's nudity and not their privacy,’” says Anne Bremner a Washington state attorney.

But Gill feels confident he can get a conviction as long as he has a victim.

“Whatever's happened in Massachusetts I don't think people have to fear that people are somehow going to have a free reign to invade their privacy in such a way,” says Gill.

Meanwhile, Thursday the Massachusetts legislature passed a measure to modernize its voyeurism law. “Upskirting” would be considered illegal. The bill has been sent to the governor for his signature.
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