Doty’s bill to fight sextortion needed

Published 12:09 am Saturday, February 16, 2019

It’s not something most of know anything about, but for many it’s a very real problem. Revenge porn and so-called “sextortion” is a real issue affected real people here in Lincoln County.

And like she has a for a couple years now, Sen. Sally Doty is trying to do something about it. Her legislation would create penalties and liability for sharing intimate visual material of another person. Sextortion is defined as blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favors and/or money from the victim.

“For example, a blackmailer might assume the identity of an attractive man or woman online, then after gaining the victim’s trust, will record footage of the victim in the nude or performing a sexual act,” Doty said. “The blackmailer threatens to circulate this footage to the victim’s friends or post it online unless a certain amount of money is paid or other sexual images produced.”

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Though it’s hard for many of us to understand the issue, young people today will share just about anything with a trusted friend or boyfriend/girlfriend. When that trusted friend becomes an enemy, the possibility for this type of activity exists. Victims of revenge porn and sextortion suffer shame, humiliation and other untold horrors, and under current state law not much happens to the perpetrator.

Doty is hoping to change that. The bill she authored this year remains alive and will be debated further in the House after clearing the Senate. We are hopeful it makes it to the governor’s desk and he signs it.

“The increases in technology require that our laws keep up with these types of issues,” Doty said. “The public release of intimate photographs can have such devastating effects and my goal with this bill is to punish offenders and prevent these instances from happening in the first place.”

We are hopeful Doty’s bill can do just that.