New bill could criminalize unwanted sexually explicit photos sent online

Texas News
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KLBK/KAMC) – A new bill in the Texas House of Representatives could criminalize unwanted sexually explicit photos sent across text, apps and online. Texas already has multiple laws against public indecency, but would be the first to target a digital situation.

“This is the new age, and everyone can send a photo and do this,” said Leslie Timmons, Education Director for Voice of Hope. “Some people have a very strange idea of what is acceptable to send, and what not to send.”

Timmons says unwanted lewd photos is a growing problem, especially with minors.

“It’s like a trophy to them, and they collect them in order to show them to friends later on,” Timmons said. “Once you send that photo it is no longer in your control, and will never really go away.”

The new bill introduced to the Texas House of Representatives would criminalize the offense to a Class C misdemeanor, and those caught could pay a fine up to $500. However, attorneys say it can be difficult to define what is an explicit photo. 

“What do you do about art, we have plenty of people who use their bodies as a freedom of speech,” said David Guinn, an attorney at Hurley & Guinn. “Likewise, what about explicit photos from medical journals? The bill will have to be very specific in it’s direction.”

The bill is waiting to be referred to a committee in the House of Representatives. 

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