On behalf of Jeffrey Engle at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices LLC

In Pennsylvania, posting revenge porn is a misdemeanor punishable with fines and imprisonment, but the terms of this law allow many potential defenses.

Over the past few years, several states, including Pennsylvania, have passed laws criminalizing "revenge porn." People who post or share explicit materials of current or former partners without consent may be charged under these laws, according to The Pennsylvania Tribune. Although this offense may seem less serious than other sex crimes, a conviction can still have steep consequences for people in Harrisburg.

Serious potential sanctions

Under current state laws, sharing revenge porn is a misdemeanor with penalties that vary based on the subject's age. People who share material that features an adult can face up to one year in prison and a fine of $5,000. People who share content featuring a minor can be punished with up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

As of May 30, 11 people in Pennsylvania had been charged under the state's revenge porn law. However, the current definition of what constitutes revenge porn is very strict, according to WITF News. This allows for various potential defenses against related charges.

Defining revenge porn

In Pennsylvania, explicit materials only qualify as revenge porn if they are posted without the consent of the subject. If the subject originally agreed to publicly share the materials, a person who faces charges of posting revenge porn may have a valid defense. Unfortunately, proving that the subject gave consent may be difficult.

Revenge porn also must be shared or posted with specific intent. Prosecutors must prove that the person who made the materials available to others did so for one of the following reasons:

  • As a form of harassment
  • To annoy the subject
  • To cause the subject worry or alarm

It's important to note that people may have various other reasons for posting explicit materials, from artistic purposes to financial gain. In some cases, these actions may not be considered Internet sex crimes. As a result, people who can establish these other underlying motivations cannot be charged with posting revenge porn.

Finally, a person must have been an intimate partner of the subject at some point to be prosecuted under the current law. People who find explicit materials of a stranger and post them can't be charged with posting revenge porn.

Challenging sex offense charges

Given the complex nature of the laws regarding revenge porn and related Internet sex crimes, people who have been accused of these offenses should consider speaking with an attorney. A defense attorney may be able to offer advice on challenging the charges based on the current scope of the laws or other factors.

Keywords: revenge porn, charges, arrest, sex crimes