Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Wednesday, April 8, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 44° Clear
News >  Spokane

UW to legislators: ‘Revenge porn’ big state issue

OLYMPIA – “Revenge porn” – what some call the posting of intimate photos of a former partner online without their permission – may be a bigger problem than legislators realized.

University of Washington law students told the House Public Safety Committee that last month they found 179 Washington residents were posted on a revenge porn website where intimate, once-private photos can be uploaded by former partners. Along with the photos are victims’ names, hometown, and sometimes driver’s license or Social Security number, Charlotte Lunday, a law student, said.

Tracking the source of that harassment is difficult, King County Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff told the House Public Safety Committee on Friday. The website is based in Amsterdam and money the victims pay to get pictures taken down goes to the Philippines.

The motivation isn’t always clear, a victim identified only as Kim L. said. Photos of her were posted in December 2013, and were spread all over the world to her friends through Facebook and other social media sites. It was months before investigators discovered they came from a computer technician who stole them while working on her computer two years earlier.

Technically it wasn’t revenge porn, Ernsdorff said, because the poster didn’t do it to get revenge. The investigation revealed the technician, Jeremy Walters, posted pictures of three other women as well.

“We don’t know why he did it, except just to be cruel,” Ernsdorff said. Walters was sentenced to a year in prison last December for cyberstalking.

While some legislators said the first instance of revenge porn should be a misdemeanor, especially for minors, Kim argued a more serious felony charge should be an option. Stealing a car is a felony, she said, and those victims can have their car replaced in time.

“I am never made whole again,” she said, because on the Internet such images “are forever.”

The committee is trying to blend two similar bills that would make posting such images a separate crime with specific penalties. Chairman Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, urged supporters to work together and produce a single bill before next Friday, which is the deadline for the committee to approve such legislation.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.



Asking the right questions of your CBD company

Bluegrass Hemp Oil in Spokane Valley offers a variety of products that can be very effective for helping with some health conditions. (Courtesy BHO)
Sponsored

If you are like most CBD (cannabidiol) curious consumers, you’ve heard CBD can help with many ailments.