Criminal Justice

Mass. governor signs upskirting ban


Updated: It didn’t take long for Massachusetts lawmakers to respond to a state high court decision that found taking upskirt photos isn’t a crime in the state.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Wednesday that the state’s Peeping Tom law bans secret photos of partly or fully nude women, but not upskirt photos of fully clothed women. A day later, state lawmakers responded with a new law to ban upskirt photos, report CNN, the Boston Herald,the Associated Press and the Boston Globe’s Political Intelligence blog.

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Gov. Deval Patrick signed the bill on Friday, the Boston Globe reports.

The new law makes it a misdemeanor to take secret photos or videos of “the sexual or other intimate parts of a person under or around the person’s clothing,” according to the Political Intelligence blog. The ban applies when a reasonable person would not expect those body parts to be visible. Penalties for a violation carry a maximum penalty of two-and-a-half years in jail and a $5,000 fine, AP says. Distributing such photos becomes a felony, according to Political Intelligence.

The bill also expands penalties for taking photos and videos of “the sexual or other intimate parts of a child” under 18. The bill makes the crime a felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, AP says. Distributing such photos is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to the wire service.

Language in the bill calls for it to take effect immediately, according to Political Intelligence. House Speaker Robert DeLeo applauded the move. “If the perpetrators out there think they have 90 days in which they can play their abhorrent games and whatnot, they’re wrong,” he said.

Updated at 10:50 a.m. to report that the governor signed the bill.

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