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Revenge Porn Felony Charges in Illinois (720 ILCS 5/11-23.5)

| Jan 18, 2016 | Criminal Defense |

Effective June 1, 2015, local and state police departments in Illinois may investigate and prosecute men or women for Non-consensual dissemination of private images (720 ILCS 5/11-23.5), more commonly known as, “Revenge Porn.” This sex offense is a Class 4 Felony punishable by one (1) to three (3) years in prison. In addition to the criminal penalties, a person may also be liable civilly for non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images.

According to the website, “End Revenge Porn,” Illinois is among 25 other states with laws prohibiting revenge porn. Generally, revenge porn is defined as the distribution of intimate pornographic images and/or videos without the consent of the subject. Many of the images and/or videos that are put on a website began as part of consensual “sexting.” According to ELLE Magazine:

2014 PEW Study found that 27 percent of smartphone owners said they have received a sext; 12 percent said they have sent one. The younger age brackets were the most prolific sexters: 44 percent of 18-24 year olds said they’ve received a sext; 22 percent of 25-34 year olds said they’ve sent one. (So, no, your friends aren’t the only ones sending the late night Snapchats.) Considering 67 percent of Internet users in a committed relationship have shared passwords with their partner or spouse, quite a few Americans are potentially at risk for having their private photos posted online.

If you, a family member or a friend is being investigated for violating 720 ILCS 5/11-23.5 you should be aware of the elements of the crime. Non-consensual dissemination of private images (720 ILCS 5/11-23.5(b)) provides:

(b) A person commits non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images when he or she:

(1) intentionally disseminates an image of another person:

(A) who is at least 18 years of age; and

(B) who is identifiable from the image itself or information displayed in connection with the image; and

(C) who is engaged in a sexual act or whose intimate parts are exposed, in whole or in part; and

(2) obtains the image under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know or understand that the image was to remain private; and

(3) knows or should have known that the person in the image has not consented to the dissemination.

To read more and understand the precise definitions read the statute (720 ILCS 5/11-23.5) and consult with an attorney who can explain the scope of the statute. The law is also in its infancy and will likely be subject to attacks as to whether or not it is overly broad, vague, and/or a violation of free speech. If you are charged with or under investigation for allegedly violating the statute or you are a facing potential civil liability you should consult with an attorney.