Revenge Porn

Texas law provides for various civil and criminal penalties for posting “revenge porn” online. Some websites actually profit from allowing people to post revenge porn. These sites often allow a person’s name to be associated with the pictures or images to further embarrass that person and make it more likely that the person or their family will discover the images posted online.

In many cases, an acqaintance will post “revenge-porn” of secretly recorded sexual videos or pictures of a former acquittance on the Internet. In other cases, the victim will knowingly send sexually explicit pictures to a boyfriend or girlfriend with the intention that the images would remain private. After the relationship ends, the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend will then post the images or videos while motivated by a desire for revenge.

The Texas Legislature recently enacted Section 21.16, which is often called the “revenge porn” statute. Section 21.16 prohibits the unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material. Keep in mind that it is not a defense to a Section 21.16 violation that the person depicted in the material either: 

  • created or consented to the creation of the visual material; or
  • voluntarily transmitted the visual material to the actor.

A violation of the statute for either disclosing the material, threatening to disclose the material, or uploading the material to the internet is charged as a class A misdemeanor.

Attorneys for Revenge Porn Cases in San Antonio, TX

The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr represent individuals in criminal and civil cases involving revenge pornography. These cases often require the testimony of expert witnesses on revenge porn to explain how the images or videos were posted and to connect the posting with a specific person. Revenge porn allegations can arise in a criminal accusation, in an order for protection against domestic or dating violence, or in a civil lawsuit for money damages.

Call our experienced attorneys based in San Antonio, TX, to discuss your case. Call (210) 226-1463.


What is Texas Law on Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn can also include “images consensually given to an intimate partner who later distributes them without consent,” and “images originally obtained without consent,” such as hidden recordings. Danielle Keats Citron & Mary Anne Franks, Criminalizing Revenge Porn, 49 Wake Forest L. Rev. 345, 346 & n.10 (2014).

In Rauhauser v. McGibney, –––S.W.3d ––––, No. 02–14–00215–CV, 2014 WL 6996819, at *5 n. 5 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Dec. 11, 2014, no pet.), the court described a revenge porn website as one “where disgruntled exes upload naked and sexually explicit photos of their former paramours.” 

In GoDaddy.com, LLC v. Toups, 429 S.W.3d 752, 753 (Tex.App.—Beaumont 2014, pet. denied), the court noted allegation that a revenge porn website “published sexually explicit photographs of plaintiffs without their permission or consent.”


Section 21.16 – Texas Statute Prohibiting Revenge Pornography

Section 21.16 of the Texas Penal Code, is intended to combat “revenge pornography.” The Senate Research Center, Bill Analysis, Tex. S.B. 1135, 84th Leg. R.S. (2015), provides in part:

(c) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally threatens to disclose, without the consent of the depicted person, visual material depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct and the actor makes the threat to obtain a benefit:

(1) in return for not making the disclosure; or

(2) in connection with the threatened disclosure. 

Tex. Penal Code § 21.16(c).


Civil Lawsuits for Revenge Porn

Texas law also allows civil lawsuits for revenge porn based on intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), intrusion on seclusion, public disclosure of private facts, and defamation. Damages in these cases can be granted for past and future mental anguish damages, past and future reputation damages, and exemplary damages. Additionally, the plaintiff can seek a permanent injunction to prevent any further distribution of the video or images.


Conclusion

“Revenge porn” is generally understood to include pornography, nude photos, or sexually explicit images that are uploaded to websites without the consent of the person depicted. If you have a civil or criminal case involving allegations that you posted revenge pornography online, then contact us to discuss your case.

Allegations that a person posted sexually explicit video or photographs to stalk, harass or embarrass another person can arise in a criminal prosecution, a civil lawsuit for money damages, or an order for protection against domestic or dating violence.

The criminal defense attorneys in San Antonio, TX, in Bexar County, are familiar with cases involving revenge pornography. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (210) 226-1463 today.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

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