By Bob Katzen
WRAPPING UP THE 2022 SESSION – Before the 2022 session ended on January 3, the House and Senate acted on several bills including:
REVENGE PORN (H 4498, S 3167) – The House and Senate approved different versions of a proposal that would prohibit the posting of sexually explicit images of another person online without their permission—commonly referred to as “revenge porn.”
The practice is often used by ex-spouses or ex-partners. Massachusetts is one of only two states that does not have a law about this crime. The measure died in the House when the House did not take action on the Senate version of the legislation.
Another provision changes current law under which minors, under 18 years of age, who share explicit images of themselves or other minors can be charged with violating Massachusetts child pornography laws and be required to register with the Sex Offender Registry. The bill allows minors to be diverted to an educational program that would provide them with information about the consequences of posting or transmitting indecent visual depictions of minors.
Supporters say that currently law enforcement are faced with either charging offenders with a felony or doing nothing. They note the bill provides a middle ground that will allow law enforcement to sentence kids to a diversion program to educate them about the consequences of their actions without ruining their lives and giving them a criminal record.
Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), the Senate chair of the Judiciary Committee, did not respond to repeated attempts by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking how he felt about the measure dying in the House.
“Rep. Roy is on an overseas trade mission so I am unable to provide a quote for you,” responded a spokesman for the bill’s sponsor Rep. Jeff Roy (D-Franklin). The spokesman did say that Roy plans to refile the bill in the 2023-2024 session.