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The Legalities of Revenge Porn

By Sheryl Rentz on June 11, 2018

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When you’re in a relationship with someone, you trust them with your deepest and darkest secrets. With the rise in social media and technology, people are trusting their significant others with more than just secrets. Couples are sending nudes or risqué photos to each other, not thinking of the long-term effects they could have.

If the relationship goes sour, that person now has photos of you in a compromising position. If photos of you are released to the public via email, Instagram, Twitter, or any social media platform without your consent, that is considered REVENGE PORN. In the state of Pennsylvania, revenge porn is a first-degree misdemeanor if the crime is committed by a minor, and a second-degree misdemeanor if committed by an adult.

Revenge Porn and Divorce

What if, during the course of your marriage, you sent your spouse nude photos to keep your sex life from going stale? Now, the person you used to trust the most is threatening to release your nude photos if you don’t give them what they want in the DIVORCE. Don’t let them blackmail you out of alimony or property that is rightfully yours. Contact a lawyer immediately if your soon-to-be ex starts making these threats. The law is on your side, and blackmail or extortion charges could be filed against that person as well.

What Happens If Your Ex Releases Nude Photos Anyway?

Although having your private photos released to the public will be a very embarrassing and traumatic experience, you will be able to see justice served. Releasing photos without your consent will not get your spouse what they want. It will heavily impact their case and diminish any assets or property that they could’ve gotten.

You can also take civil action against your ex for any damages that were caused by the revenge porn, such as loss of reputation, or if you were fired from your job due to the photos being leaked. Your ex-spouse may have to pay up the three times the amount of damages you lost.

In the state of Texas, revenge porn violators can spend up to a year in jail or pay a $4,000 fine. The hefty fines associated with this offense will hopefully deter people from doing it, but it’s not illegal in all states. Lucky for our PA residents, the law is here to stay.

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

  • Don’t take any photos that wouldn’t want your mother to see. Don’t let anyone take sexually explicit pictures of you and expect them to be kept secret forever. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to put explicit pictures of you online, since these are likely to be seen by present or future employers, future spouses, and especially your children. Remember—love or infatuation does not necessarily last forever, but pictures of you in a compromising pose will.
  • Remember that laws don’t necessarily protect you from things that are not kept private. It is your expectation of privacy that is your best defense against those who would take advantage of you from the explicit photos you had taken.
  • Don’t be bullied by a boyfriend, girlfriend, or soon-to-be ex-spouse. There are laws in place to protect your from being blackmailed or extorted when it comes to money or property. Stand up to those trying to put you down.
  • Consult a lawyer. You’d better believe that family law lawyers have lots of experience in protecting their clients from people who are bullies or extortionists.

We know that sending photos to your lover can be a fun and exciting thing to do in the moment, but the potential long-term effects may weigh out the benefits. Breakups bring out the worst in people, and you never know how low or out of character a person will get when they are angry.

The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., has been serving the Montco community for over 20 years, representing clients going through complicated divorces. If your ex-spouse is threatening to violate your privacy or has already done so, we encourage you to reach out to our Montgomery County divorce attorneys for a free consultation about your situation. No one deserves to have any photos or videos released without their consent, and we fight back against underhanded tactics to protect our clients’ future. Call (610) 645-0100 today.

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