Is Revenge Porn Illegal in Illinois?

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Is Revenge Porn Illegal in Illinois?

 Yes, revenge porn is illegal in Illinois. It is always nice when a lawyer can provide a straight answer. Most legal questions have complex answers that cannot be summed up in a single word.  However, so-called “revenge porn” is illegal in Illinois. In fact, 38 states have now created some form of legislation making nonconsensual online posting of sexually explicit material illegal.

The Issue

 The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is devoted to advocacy and promoting the protection of privacy. The group advocated for years in order to get legislation passed in many states.

Research from Data & Society suggests that over 10 million Americans have been victims of either revenge porn or threats of revenge porn. According to a recent study by the organization, almost 13% of those surveyed reported that someone had either shared or threatened to share sexually explicit images of them against their will, and over 5% of those surveyed admitted to doing this to someone else.

Understanding Revenge Porn and Cyber-Harassment

The range of conduct that can fall within the various criminal statutes is dizzying. Lawmakers and lawyers are struggling to keep up with technology changes. Phone applications like Snapchat and Marco Polo make instant visual communication appealing and easy for young people. These technologies often give the impression of security for users.

Offenders are often charged with unlawfully sharing sexually explicit materials, such as nudity, videos of sex acts, and other related images without the consent of the person whose image is being shared.

Illinois law: Non-consensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images

 Under 720 ILCS 5/11-23.5, Illinois law attempts to set forth what constitutes a violation of the law in this regard. A person may be charged with “non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images” if he or she intentionally spreads, shares, or otherwise makes public another person’s image without consent, and the following conditions apply:

  • The victim is 18 or older (under 18 would be chargeable as child pornography)
  • Victim is identifiable
  • Victim is engaged in sexual acts or “intimate parts are exposed”
  • Obtained without consent or under circumstances where the victim would reasonably expect it to remain private

Penalties for Conviction

Illinois has one of the harshest sentencing guidelines in the country, when it comes to so-called “revenge porn.” Many states start with misdemeanors and only elevate sentences to felonies upon repeat offenses. In Illinois, however, posting nude pictures or “sex tapes” of someone without their consent is punishable as a Class 4 felony. That can carry a sentence of one to three years in prison and as much as a $25,000 fine. Naturally, this is not the end of the potential problems. There can often be civil liability, as well.

Posting of Identifying or Graphic Information on a Pornographic Internet Site

In addition, under 720 ILCS 5/11-23, Illinois law makes it illegal to post identifying information, such as name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address of a person under the age of 18 or of a person 18 and older without their consent on any pornographic Internet site.

Defending Charges of Cyber-Harassment or Related Offenses

If you or someone you know is charged with a sex crime in the Chicagoland area, you cannot afford to go without a lawyer. Technology and laws are changing rapidly. Ivec Law, P.C. will work to protect your rights. Do not talk to anyone about your case until you have talked to a lawyer. Call (815) 439-9909 to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.

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