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Judge: 'Revenge porn' is a poor decision, but not illegal

There is a very thin line between engaging in ill-advised behavior and engaging in illegal behavior. However, defining this line can be crucial when a person is facing criminal charges, and it can all come down to how a particular law is interpreted.

For example, a man in New York was recently charged with a number of offenses after he sent out naked photos of an ex-girlfriend to her sister and her boss. Was this a bad decision? Probably. But were his actions against the law? According to a judge, they were not. 

The man was reportedly quite upset after he and his girlfriend broke up. In an act of revenge, the man reportedly sent out pictures that his ex had sent him while they were still together. This is referred to as "revenge porn" and cases involving this behavior have been popping up all across the country. In this case, the woman was understandably very angry by her ex-boyfriend's decision and the man was charged with dissemination of unlawful surveillance, aggravated harassment and public display of offensive sexual material.

However, all the charges were dismissed after a judge ruled that the man's behaviors did not actually warrant the charges. The photos were not illegally obtained and they were taken with the woman's permission. And because the photos were not sent to the woman but to others, she was not the victim of harassment. Citing these facts, a judge had no choice but to dismiss the charges.

Despite the fact that this man made some very poor decisions, his actions were not illegal. Making this distinction is crucial in these cases, especially because this trend of "revenge porn" is spreading across the country. Some states have specifically made it a crime to use illicit photos of an ex in an act of retaliation, but New York has not. With this in mind, it can be important for others who are facing these types of criminal charges in this state to consider speaking with an attorney. Making a bad decision is not necessarily a crime and with the help of an attorney, people in these situations can defend themselves against inaccurate allegations.

Source: UPI, "Judge dismissed charges in New York 'revenge porn' case," Feb. 20, 2014

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