Indiana senator proposes bill to make revenge porn illegal

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - An Indiana lawmaker wants to make revenge porn a crime in Indiana.

13 Investigates first told you about a gap in state law that allows someone to post sexually explicit images of you or your teen without consent and without consequences.

Some new legislation could change that. It would make violators subject to jail time and a fine.

Pam Speckman's crusade to help victims take a stand against revenge porn is now on record at the Statehouse.

Senator Aaron Freeman of Indianapolis made good on his promise to her. Senator Freeman is proposing a bill that would make it a crime to post explicit images of someone without their consent.

"Out of the 50 states, there are only 10 that do not have a state revenge porn law. Indiana is one of them," Speckman told 13 Investigates. She decided to speak out about the problem last fall after her daughter Colene posted a couple of provocative images on Snapchat thinking they would simply disappear.

Instead, Colene said the photos ended up in the hands of a classmate she refused to date. Colene says the 18-year old male posted the pictures to a porn site out of spite and without her consent.

The Speckmans went to police but were told there was nothing law enforcement could do.

"We're catching an area right now that has no deterrent factor. There's nothing from keeping somebody from just being a jerk and really being vindictive against someone and really trying to embarrass them," said Freeman explaining his decision to introduce the legislation.

More families joined the Speckmans in their fight including one young woman from New Castle who started an online petition, asking lawmakers to take action.

"This is kind of our only hope right now to get enough signatures that we can bring it to life," said Katarina, who decided to join forces with the Speckmans on behalf of a relative.

If passed, Senate Bill 202 would make posting explicit images without consent a Class A misdemeanor.

"Up to 365 days in jail. Up to a $5,000 fine," said Freeman, detailing the impact of a conviction. "And I would note that my bill would say that a second offense could be a Level 6 felony. So look, there's some teeth here. There's some deterrent factor here."

Some critics believe the best solution is to educate young adults about the consequences of sharing explicit photos.

Freeman agrees but says those looking for revenge shouldn't be allowed to go free.

The next step is getting a committee hearing on the proposed legislation in hopes of bringing Indiana in line with at least 40 other states.

"We're behind the ball here and we need to catch up," Freeman said.

Right now, there is no education component attached to the bill, but Freeman believes that could change as more people learn about the proposed legislation.

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