Local Lawmaker Proposes Bill That Would Make Revenge Porn Illegal

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - Arkansas Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, presented a bill to the Senate Wednesday (Feb. 4) that would make posting indecent pictures of a former significant other on the web illegal.

The act is also known as revenge porn.

Hester said the bill, SB 156, would make it a class A misdemeanor to put nude photographs of a person on the internet without their permission.

"It really clarifies on what type of images and videos are not permissible," Hester said. "And then it says if someone uses those images, images of a sexual nature, with the intent to harass or embarass or extort someone then it's against the law."

Hester said similar legislation has already passed in 17 states, and is being considered in 13 more. He said he decided to pursue the bill after a constituent came to him with a problem.

"The most common [occurence] right now, is in a divorce case negotiating for children," Hester said. "The husband in a lot of cases is using that against the wife to negotiate for custody of the children, and it's really unfair, really unjust and we're trying to make some corrections."

According to Benton County Sheriff's Office Deputy Keshia Guyll, it's currently not illegal to post revenge porn, unless money is involved.

"It becomes illegal when somebody says, 'I'm going to post these pictures of you or you can give me "x" amount of money and I won't,' that's extortion and that's when it becomes illegal," Guyll said.

Guyll said she encourages people to think twice before posting, or taking, a questionable photo.

"You know it can really cost somebody a lot," she said. "If you apply for a job, one of the main things somebody does on a background check is Google the applicant's name, and if nude pictures show up, they probably won't get hired."

Hester said the bill is being revised in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he will present it to the Senate for a second time next week.

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