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Thursday 18 September 2014

Massachussetts bans 'upskirt' photos

Published 08/03/2014 | 09:04

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is expected to approve legislation clamping down on Peeping Toms (AP)
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is expected to approve legislation clamping down on Peeping Toms (AP)

The governor of Massachusetts signed a bill yesterday updating the state's voyeurism laws.

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The move came just two days after the state's highest court ruled that a man who took mobile phone photos up the skirts of female subway passengers in Boston was not violating the law as written.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, bans so-called "upskirting" by making it illegal to photograph or videotape the "sexual or other intimate parts" of women or children in public. The law also applies to male victims.

Violators could be punished with up to two-and-a-half years in jail and a 5,000 dollar (£2,990) fine, and the penalties would increase to as much as five years in prison and 10,000 dollars (£5,980) in fines if the victim is under the age of 18.

The legislature reacted with lightning speed to Wednesday's unanimous ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court, in which the justices said the state's existing Peeping Tom law did not apply to the photographing of people who were fully clothed.

The decision overruled a lower court that had upheld charges against Michael Robertson, who was arrested by transit police in 2010 after allegedly taking photos and video up the skirts and dresses of female riders.

Governor Deval Patrick said the new law would close the loophole.

A bill was quickly drafted and passed by the state House of Representatives and Senate on Thursday, with politicians suspending procedural rules including the normal requirement for a public hearing.

Press Association

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