Family Affairs: Exacting revenge can leave you cold

 All of us have thought of taking revenge on an ex at some point (okay, maybe not you “saintly” types). However, most of us have not thought of exacting that revenge by posting sexually explicit pictures of them online; pictures that were once taken when we were in love (or lust as the case may be) and meant for our eyes only.

The Michigan Senate passed two bills in 2014 that would criminalize these types of actions – Senate Bills 924 and 925. Per the proposed law, a person cannot “post on the Internet any sexually explicit photograph, drawing, or other visual image of another person with the intent to frighten, intimidate, or harass any person.” And, if you do post one of these things, and the other person provides you with a written request to take it down, your refusal to do so would also be a crime. On a side note, can you imagine drafting that “written request?” “Dear John, Please take down the picture of me on ihatemyex.com…All the best, Suzie.”
The criminal penalty for a first offense would be up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, or both, with the crime being classified as a misdemeanor. If you’re dumb enough to commit the same crime twice, your second violation is also a misdemeanor but the jail time is increased to up to a year and the fine to $1,000, or both.
Michigan has used other laws to prosecute offenses such as this, by going after individuals based on a law prohibiting the unlawful posting of a message on the Internet. That was the case for one Michigan resident who will remain nameless. He allegedly made the bright choice to place some nude pictures of his former girlfriend on the Internet, naturally without her consent. The law that he was prosecuted under carries a $5,000 fine and is a two-year felony, which is much more of a stiff penalty than what the proposed Senate bills carry.
Where you really don’t want to commit this crime is Illinois. It recently passed a law for the same behavior, and those convicted can be hit with a $25,000 fine and spend a blissful one to three years in prison. This law takes effect on June 1, 2015.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that posting nude pictures of your ex is going to get you in trouble, and cause a great deal of harm to the individual whose image is shared. Then again, no one ever said criminals with scorned hearts were smart.
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Marie Matyjaszek is a family law attorney whose blog site is: http://legalbling.blogspot.com. She can be reached by e-mailing her at matyjasz@hotmail.com.

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