EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

March 7, 2014

Legislature acts fast on prohibiting 'upskirting'

(Continued)

The House, which was not meeting in formal session yesterday, approved the bill during a lightly attended informal session with no objection, and both branches attached emergency language to the measure to allow it to take effect immediately after the governor signs it.

The SJC threw out the state’s case against Robertson, arguing the women did not have a legal expectation of privacy on the trolley and were not partially nude as defined under current law. The court found that the state’s law against secretly photographing or videotaping a person who is nude or partially nude was written in a way to apply to “peeping toms,” but does not cover “upskirting.”

Murray was furious with the decision, and DeLeo said he thought the law on the books should have been sufficient to cover “upskirting.” The speaker said he was confident the new bill would pass “constitutional muster” if challenged in the courts.

Anyone caught taking such photographs of an adult could be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to up to 2 ½ years in jail or fined up to $5,000. Photographing a child under this statute would be treated as a felony and carry a penalty of up to five years in state prison, and or a fine of not more than $10,000.

The bill sent to Patrick for his review also outlaws the dissemination of “upskirt” photos, which Murray said get posted to “really nasty websites.”

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