EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 5, 2014

UPDATE: SJC rules 'upskirt' photos not illegal

Court dismisses case against Andover man

(Continued)

A spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, in an advisory email about the court decision, said prosecutors attempted to argue that a person has a right to privacy “beneath his or her own clothes.”

“We will urge the Legislature to re-write the current statute to grant that right,” spokesman Jake Wark wrote on behalf of Conley.

The court noted that there are two bills pending in the Legislature (S 648/H 1231), filed by now U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark and Melrose Rep. Paul Brodeur, that “appear to attempt to address the upskirting conduct at issue here.”

The bills, which are tailored toward further protecting children from being photographed naked, would amend the definition of partial nudity in state law to include the phrase “whether naked or covered by undergarments.”

Both bills were filed in January 2013 and had public hearing last May before the Judiciary Committee. The bills remain before that committee, which is without a House chairman since former Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty resigned to join Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration.

Botsford noted that states like New York and Florida have specific statutes that directly criminalize upskirting.

Brodeur said that based on his understanding of the law he was not surprised by the court’s findings, and will use the decision as an impetus to raise the issue again with House leadership and explain how his bill could further protect women.

“No one expects that it’s okay to have intimate area photographed without their consent,” Brodeur said. “The bill I filed was in partnership with the Middlesex (District Attorney’s) office to clear up what the SJC has pointed out is a problem and to provide some clarity and little bit more of a zone of privacy and expectation that this is not something that should happen.”

Court Opinion:

http://www.statehousenews.com/docs/2014/03-05_SJC11353_Robertson.pdf

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