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Bill Signed Into Law Making Revenge Porn A Misdemeanor

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Added protections from harassment due to broken relationships are signed into law.

Pat Warren reports revenge porn is now a punishable offense.

Annmarie Chiarini’s bad breakup has helped change the way the state views intimate Internet postings.

In a WJZ investigation, Chiarini goes public with her experience as a victim of revenge porn. She tells WJZ an ex-boyfriend posted explicit pictures of her on the Internet. He had taken the pictures with her permission, but posted them in revenge after she broke up with him.

“There I was, and there was my first and last name, and there was the town where I live, and there was the college and the campus where I teach, and there was a solicitation for sex,” she said.

Chiarini went to police for help.

“I sought help from law enforcement, and it was the same shake your head. ‘There’s nothing we can do, no crime has been committed. There’s nothing we can do. Silly girl, go away. There’s nothing we can do,'” said Chiarini.

The extent of the problem became evident as other victims came forward.

“As I’m learning more and starting to understand the Maryland law, I was getting more and more frustrated, and I said, ‘Oh, I’m just going to change the law then,'” Chiarini said. “And that was it. Something clicked and I said, ‘This is what I’m going to do. This is not happening to anyone else.'”

With the help of committed supporters, the House and Senate unanimously passed and the governor signed a bill making revenge porn a misdemeanor with up to a year in prison and a $500 fine.

Some Maryland lawmakers wanted to make revenge porn a felony. Arizona’s governor just signed a bill making it a felony in that state.

The Maryland law takes effect October 1.

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