⚫ A bill gives legal recourse to people who receive unwanted nude photos

⚫ The new crime would possibly mean up to six months behind bars

⚫ The penalties would be more severe if the recipient is under 13 years old

New Jersey may create a whole new batch of criminals.

A proposed law moving through the New Jersey Statehouse would criminalize the act of sending someone a nude photo, if the material is unwanted and unsolicited.

The bipartisan measure is playing catch-up with evolving technology. Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, R-Morris, said her bill treats these lewd electronic messages the same as flashing or streaking.

"When you are you communicating, think of it as that person is standing right in front of you. And would you do that if you were in the presence of that person?" Dunn said.

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Sending an unsolicited nude photo would become a disorderly persons offense, or misdemeanor, under A1939. That's punishable by up to six months behind bars, a $1,000 fine, or both.

How would sending nudes be a crime?

The photo could be sent through text or email, or over an app or dating site. If the bill were to become law, even individuals who believe they have a connection with someone would want to think twice before hitting "send" on a photo that the other party didn't specifically ask to see.

If the recipient of the lewd material is under the age of 13, the act would be bumped up to a fourth-degree crime, punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.

"Young women are overwhelmingly the victims in these types of incidents and they need to be protected," Dunn said. "In today's digital world, they can be targeted, coerced, humiliated and harassed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This law would give them legal recourse."

Dunn was a prime sponsor a law signed in 2023 that criminalizes sexual extortion, using one's sexual images as blackmail.

The newer measure has sponsors and co-sponsors on both sides of the political aisle. It was unanimously advanced by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on March 4.

As of now, there is no similar bill in the Senate.

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