Pat Quinn signs law making ‘revenge porn’ a felony

Stephanie Kelly, City Editor

Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday signed into law a bill that criminalizes the distribution of “revenge porn,” sexually explicit images of someone usually shared online by former romantic partners without the subject’s consent.

The law makes revenge porn a Class 4 felony starting June 1, 2015. Offenders can face one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

“Cyberbullying can have lasting and often devastating effects on a person, especially when it involves the distribution of very personal images,” Quinn said in a news release. “This shameful act can be as harmful as any other form of abuse. This law cracks down on perpetrators and will help prevent more people from becoming victims, most of whom are women.”

Any contract, agreement or funds the offender agrees to in exchange for the distributed images will be void under the new law.

The Illinois General Assembly passed the bill Dec. 3. Since 2013, 13 other states have banned revenge porn.

State Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Matteson) and State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) sponsored the bill.

“This is an important modernization of our laws that will protect people’s lives and reputations from cyberbullying and intimidation,” Hastings said in the news release.

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