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Our Opinion: 'Revenge porn' bill would help to protect victims

Our Opinion: 'Revenge porn' bill would help to protect victims

May 16th, 2018 by News Tribune in Opinion

We commend Missouri lawmakers for finishing and finally passing the so-called "revenge porn" bill, and we encourage the governor to sign it.

The bill would make it easier for prosecutors, who currently do not have laws they can use when someone uploads or shares compromising pictures without the consent of the person shown in the pictures.

It would create two new crimes: "non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images" and "threatening the non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images."

There have been some suggestions that the bill is tied to the allegations surrounding Gov. Eric Greitens, who was facing a felony invasion of privacy charge stemming from allegedly threatening to release a compromising photo of a woman he was having an affair with, if she told anyone about the affair. The charge was dropped Monday.

This proposal actually has been around several years, and we are glad lawmakers were able to separate Greitens' situation and the need for the bill.

It didn't do the debate justice when Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, said — as reported by the Kansas City Star — "I'd ask everyone to say no to blindfolds and duct tape and support this amendment."

Other high-profile examples of the need for the bill exist, but it is ordinary people who are often the victims of cyberbullying or revenge porn.

The need for this law stands on its own. The bill wasn't introduced as a political slam against the governor, and it shouldn't be confused with his case.

The Star reported this is the fourth year the Missouri Legislature has considered the bill, and 38 states already have outlawed revenge porn. We hope Missouri will soon become the 39th state.