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Massachusetts on verge of becoming second-to-last state to outlaw 'revenge porn'

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Massachusetts on verge of becoming second-to-last state to outlaw 'revenge porn'
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Massachusetts on verge of becoming second-to-last state to outlaw 'revenge porn'

2024-06-14 06:47 Last Updated At:06:50

BOSTON (AP) — A bill aimed at outlawing “revenge porn” has been approved by lawmakers in the Massachusetts House and Senate and shipped to Democratic Gov. Maura Healey, a move advocates say was long overdue.

If signed by Healey, the bill — which bars the sharing of explicit images or videos without the consent of those depicted in the videos — would leave South Carolina as the only state not to have a law specifically banning revenge porn.

Supports say the bill, which landed on Healey's desk Thursday, would align Massachusetts with the other 48 states that have clear prohibitions on disseminating sexually explicit images and videos without the subject’s consent. It is a form of abuse that advocates say has grown increasingly common in the digital age, subjecting people to social and emotional harm often inflicted by former romantic partners.

The bill would make disseminating nude or partially nude photos of another person without their permission criminal harassment. Offenders would face up to two and a half years in prison and a fine of $10,000. On subsequent offenses, the punishment would increase to up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $15,000.

“No person’s life should devolve into chaos because a private photo was shared without their permission, and no person should fear coercion or be threatened with the sharing of such a photo," Senate President Karen Spilka said.

The bill explicitly states that even though a person might consent to the initial creation of an explicit image or video that doesn't mean they are also agreeing that it can be distributed without their additional consent in the future.

The advent of artificial intelligence and deepfake technology in the creation of revenge porn has added to the concerns of lawmakers. Supporters said the bill opens the door to legislation further addressing the implications of the emerging technology.

Karissa Hand, an aide to Healey, said the governor, who was previously the state’s attorney general, “has long supported legislation to ban revenge porn and hold accountable those who would engage in abusive, coercive and deeply harmful behavior” and looks forward to reviewing any legislation that reaches her desk.

The legislation establishes a definition for coercive control to account for non-physical forms of abuse such as isolation, threatening harm toward a family member or pet, controlling or monitoring activities, damaging property, publishing sensitive information, and repeated legal action.

Advocates describe coercive control as a pattern of deliberate behavior by an abuser that substantially restricts another person’s safety and autonomy.

By expanding the statute of limitation for domestic violence charges to 15 years, the bill would also give survivors a longer time to seek justice.

Under current law, minors who possess, purchase or share explicit photos of themselves or other minors are charged with violating child sexual abuse image laws and are required to register as sex offenders.

The bill would instead require the state attorney general to develop an educational diversion program to provide adolescents who engage in revenge porn with information about the consequences and life-altering effects caused by engaging in the behavior.

District attorneys would still have the authority to petition the court to bring criminal charges in extreme cases.

Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, called passage of the bill in the Legislature “a milestone for survivors in Massachusetts.”

“Non-consensual sharing of intimate images impacts thousands of people in Massachusetts every year, and increases an individual’s likelihood of further sexual harm,” the group said in a written statement.

“This bill takes a thoughtful approach to addressing the problem - one that balances strong protections for survivors with a recognition that younger people who cause this harm often can and should benefit from educational diversion over prosecution,” the group added.

FILE - The Massachusetts Statehouse is seen, Jan. 2, 2019, in Boston. A bill aimed at outlawing “revenge porn” was approved by lawmakers in the Massachusetts House and Senate and shipped Thursday, June 13, 2024 to Democratic Gov. Maura Healey, a move advocates say was long overdue. If signed by Healey, the bill — which bars the sharing of explicit images or videos without the consent of those depicted in the videos — would leave South Carolina as the only state not to have a law specifically banning revenge porn. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

FILE - The Massachusetts Statehouse is seen, Jan. 2, 2019, in Boston. A bill aimed at outlawing “revenge porn” was approved by lawmakers in the Massachusetts House and Senate and shipped Thursday, June 13, 2024 to Democratic Gov. Maura Healey, a move advocates say was long overdue. If signed by Healey, the bill — which bars the sharing of explicit images or videos without the consent of those depicted in the videos — would leave South Carolina as the only state not to have a law specifically banning revenge porn. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jo Adell drove in an early run and had two hits, and José Soriano pitched six resourceful innings in the Los Angeles Angels' 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

Four Angels pitchers held Seattle scoreless for the final eight innings, with Carlos Estévez pitching the ninth for his 17th save. Los Angeles has limited the first-place Mariners to one earned run in the last 16 innings of this series, with the Angels winning both games.

“Pitching, defense, timely hitting,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “That's what it was. We played a solid ballgame.”

Soriano (5-7) gave up just one run despite allowing five hits and four walks and hitting two batters with wildly off-the-mark pitches. In his third start since returning from a back injury, he struck out five and ended Mariners rallies in three of the first five innings by retiring Luke Raley three times, stranding eight runners in the process.

“I was attacking the zone,” Soriano said through an interpreter. “I was commanding pitches. I had a little bit of turbulence, but I passed through it.”

Julio Rodríguez had an RBI single in the first inning for the Mariners, who have lost two straight after winning the first three games of their Southern California road trip.

George Kirby (7-7) yielded just three hits and one earned run over six innings for Seattle, striking out seven.

“They threw some really good pitching at us tonight,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It came down to (the fact) we made an error in the middle of the field, which we typically don't do, and we just weren't able to overcome it. We had some chances against Soriano, but we needed to come up with a big hit, and we didn't do that tonight. Uncharacteristic play for us.”

Seattle led after three batters. J.P. Crawford drew an 11-pitch leadoff walk and scored on singles by Cal Raleigh and Rodríguez. Raley grounded into a double play with two on to end the first.

Los Angeles went ahead 2-1 in the second inning when Mickey Moniak singled, stole second and scored on a long single by Adell. Zach Neto then ran home when Raley's throw from right field rolled to the Angels' dugout. Raley was charged with a throwing error.

Raley also struck out with the bases loaded in the third, and grounded out with the bases loaded in the fifth.

Ben Joyce threw a 103.4-mph fastball during his 11th straight scoreless outing for the Angels. The reliever gave up a leadoff double in the seventh before striking out Crawford, Raleigh and Rodríguez on 12 combined pitches with his combination of heat, an improving slider and an 86-mph changeup.

“I feel like every time I've just been getting more comfortable, and you're seeing the results,” Joyce said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP Gabe Speier performed well in his bullpen session Friday, manager Scott Servais said. Seattle is hoping Speier can return after the All-Star break.

Angels: RHP Andrew Wantz had season-ending elbow surgery, the team announced Saturday. He made one major league appearance this season.

UP NEXT

Seattle's Logan Gilbert (6-5, 3.59 ERA) makes the start that will force him to miss his first All-Star Game. The Angels hadn't yet announced who will start a bullpen game.

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez, left, hits an RBI single as Los Angeles Angels catcher Logan O'Hoppe watches during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez, left, hits an RBI single as Los Angeles Angels catcher Logan O'Hoppe watches during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Carlos Estevez celebrates after striking out Seattle Mariners' Victor Robles to end their baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. The Angels won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Carlos Estevez celebrates after striking out Seattle Mariners' Victor Robles to end their baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. The Angels won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels shortstop Zach Neto, right, can't handle a ball hit by Seattle Mariners' Mitch Garver as center fielder Mickey Moniak watches during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. Garver was safe at first on the play. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels shortstop Zach Neto, right, can't handle a ball hit by Seattle Mariners' Mitch Garver as center fielder Mickey Moniak watches during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. Garver was safe at first on the play. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners' Victor Robles gets back back to first after J.P. Crawford lined out during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners' Victor Robles gets back back to first after J.P. Crawford lined out during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Collin Snider, left, makes a catch on a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels' Nolan Schanuel as first baseman Ty France watches during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Collin Snider, left, makes a catch on a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels' Nolan Schanuel as first baseman Ty France watches during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Carlos Estevez throws to the plate during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Carlos Estevez throws to the plate during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels second baseman Keston Hiura, left, gets set to tag out Seattle Mariners' Josh Rojas as Rojas attempts to steal second during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels second baseman Keston Hiura, left, gets set to tag out Seattle Mariners' Josh Rojas as Rojas attempts to steal second during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher George Kirby throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher George Kirby throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels' Zach Neto, left, covers his head as he scores on a throwing error while Seattle Mariners designated hitter Mitch Garver, center, stands by during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels' Zach Neto, left, covers his head as he scores on a throwing error while Seattle Mariners designated hitter Mitch Garver, center, stands by during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels second baseman Keston Hiura, center, falls over Seattle Mariners' Josh Rojas aafter tagging him out as he tried to steal second during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels second baseman Keston Hiura, center, falls over Seattle Mariners' Josh Rojas aafter tagging him out as he tried to steal second during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jose Soriano throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jose Soriano throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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