In 2019, to combat the phenomenon known as “revenge porn,” the state of New York added Penal Law Section 245.15 to its list of criminal charges. Specifically, it is now a class A misdemeanor for a person to unlawfully disseminate or publish an intimate image without the consent of the person depicted in the image. This generally prevents an ex-boyfriend from humiliating an ex-girlfriend by using intimate photos taken during the relationship and sharing them with friends or posting them to the internet. So, even though the images might have been freely given during the relationship, a person is not necessarily free to distribute or dispose of those images however they want. Of course, a person could be subject to a civil lawsuit for engaging in “revenge porn” behavior as well. Depending on the circumstances, other charges might also be brought against an alleged “revenge porn” offender, including extortion, aggravated harassment, stalking, or unlawful surveillance.
The criminal charge states:
1. A person is guilty of unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image when: (a) with intent to cause harm to the emotional, financial or physical welfare of another person, he or she intentionally disseminates or publishes a still or video image of such other person, who is identifiable from the still or video image itself or from information displayed in connection with the still or video image, without such other person’s consent, which depicts: (i) an unclothed or exposed intimate part of such other person; or (ii) such other person engaging in sexual conduct as defined in subdivision ten of section 130.00 of this chapter with another person; and (b) such still or video image was taken under circumstances when the person depicted had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private and the actor knew or reasonably should have known the person depicted intended for the still or video image to remain private, regardless of whether the actor was present when the still or video image was taken.