EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

March 7, 2014

Legislature acts fast on prohibiting 'upskirting'

(Continued)

Wednesday’s court decision overruled a lower court that had upheld charges against Robertson, who was arrested in August 2010 by transit police who set up a sting after getting reports that he was using his cellphone to take photos and video up the skirts and dresses of female riders.

State Rep. Frank Moran, D-Lawrence, said he was initially shocked by the court ruling.

“The first thing that came to my mind, ‘what’s that judge thinking?’,” Moran said.

“But when you have something like that come up, you have to react. That law needs to be changed as soon as possible. I absolutely support the legislation as I think everyone does. I overheard the speaker of the House saying that this bill is going to go through.”

State Rep. Marcos Devers, D-Lawrence, also said he was perplexed by the court’s ruling.

“I don’t understand the rationale behind it,” Devers said.

“That kind of act is appalling. So, there definitely needs to be a law to make something like that illegal,” he said.

Newburyport state Rep. Michael Costello, while not present on Beacon Hill yesterday, supported the House’s action and said his counterparts were tightening up the law as it was originally intended.

“Moving in that direction quickly is smart,” Costello said.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Murray fast-tracked the bill, which was written and approved by both branches and sent to the governor’s desk for his signature with unusual haste following Wednesday’s court ruling.

“I’m happy with the speed. I’m very unhappy that we had to do this today, that this is not illegal activity already,” Murray said. “And as someone just mentioned to me, yes, we’ve taken care of videos and smartphones and whatever other cameras, but we didn’t talk about yet are drones. OK, so now the drone issue will come up in the future also about privacy issues.”

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