MARYLAND

'Revenge porn' could mean jail time in Md.

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SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJLA) – Posting nude photos of your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend online may soon land you behind bars in the state of Maryland. House of Delegates are voting this week on whether to make "revenge porn" a crime. The bill may then head to the state senate.

“There was a lot of shame and embarrassment,” said victim Annmarie Chiarini. “I did not choose to have my sexuality broadcast."

She’s calling for change after a bitter breakup nearly destroyed her life when an ex-boyfriend auctioned off a CD of nude photos of her on eBay. The single mother of two and respected English professor in Maryland was humiliated.

“I was just absolutely shocked that someone who I had trusted so much would betray me such a vile and vicious manner," she said.

Chiarini’s sense of safety shattered when her former lover then posted the racy photos he promised were for his eyes only, on a pornography website.

“The danger became really real at that point," she admitted.

Chiarini’s name was used which sparked a scandal that tarnished her reputation and put her job in jeopardy. To her dismay, police couldn't help.

“I was frustrated and blurted out, 'Well, then I'm going to change the laws," she recalled.

Chiarini's story sent shockwaves into Delegate Luiz Simmon's Silver Spring office. And she wasn't the first victim he heard from.

“I had my own experience with an employee of mine who worked in the office who came in over the summer, closed the door, asked if she could speak with me and then broke down and started weeping,” he said.

Someone was threatening to post intimate photos of that employee on social media if she didn't give up personal information.

“This is an epidemic problem," said Delegate Simmons matter-of-factly.

He’s sponsoring legislation that would make "revenge porn” that causes serious emotional stress a misdemeanor. The penalty would be three years behind bars and a $500 fine. Anyone on the floor of the House of Delegates can offer amendments to the bill Tuesday before it goes up for vote.

“I think we've come up with an excellent bill that will survive constitutional attack and will become a model for the nation," he said.

A similar bill banning revenge porn in Virginia is also gaining traction. New Jersey criminalized the practice in 2004. California did so this past October.

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