Massachusetts lawmakers ban 'upskirt' photos

8:50 PM, Mar 6, 2014   |    comments
Massachusetts lawmakers acted March 6, 2014, to outlaw photos of the "sexual and intimate parts" of women and children. (Photo: Gannett)
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(USA TODAY) A day after the state's highest court upheld the legality of "upskirt" photos, Massachusetts lawmakers Thursday voted to ban the secret pictures of women's and children's "sexual or intimate parts."

The measure, which sailed through the House and Senate, awaits Gov. Deval Patrick's likely signature.

Renegade paparazzi could be jailed more than two years and fined $5,000 if the victim is 18 or older, but the penalties would jump to five years behind bars or a $10,000 fine for anyone under age.

"It is sexual harassment. It is an assault on another person ... women and children should be able to go to public places without feeling like they are not protected by the law," Senate President Therese Murray said after the vote, Boston.com reported.

The unusually swift action followed the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling Wednesday that a Boston subway rider who took cellphone photos up women's skirts didn't violate the state's "Peeping Tom" law. The judges said that although the law protected someone's privacy in dressing rooms and bathrooms while naked or partially clothed, it did not protect people in public.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said his chamber acted "to bring Massachusetts laws up-to-date with technology and the predatory practice of 'upskirting.' We must make sure that the law protects women from these kind of frightening and degrading acts."

By Michael Winter, USA TODAY

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