MARYLAND

Revenge porn bill introduced in Maryland

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(WJLA) - A Maryland lawmaker wants to criminalize revenge pornography, or the release of non-consensual disclosure of sexually explicit pictures and video online.

Photo: Md. Del. Jon Cardin

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Revenge porn is now against the law in California and New Jersey, but in the rest of the country, law enforcement officials say there is little they can do about this type of cyber-stalking until rules are in place.

Now there’s a push to pass revenge porn laws in Maryland. With the explosive growth of social media, experts say revenge porn is becoming all too common.

Maryland Del. Jon Cardin, a Democrat running for attorney general, unveiled a bill Wednesday to make this type of revenge illegal, citing a recent IT study that sounds just how many people are vulnerable.

“Fifty percent of the respondents had shared intimate photographs of themselves with a loved one or a friend and that one in 10 people have had an ex threaten to expose these photos on the Internet,” Cardin says.

Annmarie Chiarini experienced revenge porn first-hand.

Now a victims’ advocate for the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Chiarini recalled when Maryland law enforcement officials told her there was nothing under the law they could do to help her.

“I was frustrated and blurted out ‘Then I’m going to change the laws!’ His reply was ‘Annmarie, if you can do that, it would make my job a lot easier.”

The determined mother of two said she doesn’t want other victims to suffer the feelings of fear when there is no protection available.

“It just filled me with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and that’s a very frightening emotion to have to deal with,” Chiarini says.

The legislation would make it a felony in Maryland to intentionally post sexually explicit pictures or images without the consent of the person photographed. The crime would be punishable by up to five years in prison or a $25,000 fine, or both.

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