If you or a loved one have been accused of sextortion or revenge porn in Rhode Island, call the experienced Rhode Island criminal defense attorneys at Abilheira Law today.  Our skilled sex crimes attorneys will help to protect your reputation and your record by fighting the charge of unauthorized dissemination of indecent materials.

What is Revenge Pornography (Also Known As “Revenge Porn”)?

Revenge porn is the sharing of images or videos depicting adult nudity without the consent of the individual pictured.

What is The Difference Between Revenge Porn and Sextortion?

Generally, the motive behind revenge porn and sextortion is different.

Revenge porn is usually distributed with intent of harming the depicted person or their reputation.

Sextortion applies where the distributor shares the image in order to threaten or blackmail the victim—usually into performing various sexual acts against his or her will or for monetary gains.

Is Revenge Porn Illegal?

Across the United States, 37 states have enacted legislation that criminalizes revenge porn. Of these states, 26 require proof of malicious intent and 5 states require proof that the distribution of the revenge porn actually caused harm to the individual pictured. The remaining states do not require specific proofs.

Has Rhode Island Criminalized Revenge Porn?

Yes, Rhode Island lawmakers passed a revenge porn bill “H7452/S2450” unanimously in April 2018.  This bill was signed by the Governor and became law on June 4, 2018. This bill created Rhode Island General Laws §11-64-3 entitled “Unauthorized Dissemination of Indecent Materials.”

What is Illegal under Rhode Island General Laws §11-64-3?

Under Rhode Island law, a person is guilty of unauthorized dissemination of indecent materials if they intentionally disseminate, publish or sell “a visual image that depicts another identifiable person eighteen (18) years or older engaged in sexually explicit conduct or of the intimate areas of that person” without the consent of the person depicted in the visual image.

  • A “visual image” can include photographs, films, videos, or digital images or recordings
  • “Sexually explicit conduct” means actual:
    • Sexual intercourse
    • Bestiality
    • Masturbation
    • Sadistic or masochistic abuse

Additionally, the visual image must have been made, captured, recorded, or obtained under such circumstances in which a reasonable person would know or understand that the image was to remain private.

Additionally, the person disseminating the visual image must act with “knowledge or with reckless disregard for the likelihood that the depicted person will suffer harm, or with the intent to harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce the depicted person.”  This harm can include:

  • bodily injury
  • emotional distress
  • financial loss
  • reputational injury

Under Rhode Island law, “sextortion” is also criminalized.  A person is guilty of sextortion if they:

  1. Intentionally threaten to disclose any visual image described above and makes the threat to obtain a benefit in return for not making the disclosure or in connection with the threatened disclosure.
  2. Demand payment of money, property, services or anything else of value from a person in exchange for removing any visual image described above.

What are the Penalties for Revenge Porn and Sextortion in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, a first offense “revenge porn” or unauthorized dissemination of indecent materials conviction is considered a misdemeanor and may result in up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

However, subsequent offenses are considered felonies, with the maximum penalties of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $3,000.00.

Sextortion in Rhode Island is considered a felony and may result in up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Why Did Rhode Island Pass H7452/S2450?

Rhode Island lawmakers passed the bill with belief that it will give law enforcement an important tool to protect Rhode Islanders from “attempts to hurt or intimidate . . . especially from vindictive lovers, by disseminating intimate or explicit photos.”

Why is H7452/S2450 Controversial?

Many media organizations and civil liberties groups oppose the bill out of concern that it could be used for unnecessary censorship in violation of The First Amendment.

If you or someone you know are faced with a revenge porn charge in the State of Rhode Island, or if you would like to know more information about this new bill, contact our skilled Rhode Island criminal defense attorneys at Abilheira Law today. Call us now (401)245-5100!