SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 7, 2014

North Shore lawmakers support ‘upskirting’ legislation

(Continued)

The bill wordily attempts to define “upskirting,” as photographing, videotaping or electronically surveilling someone “with the intent to secretly conduct or hide such activity, the sexual or other intimate parts of a person under or around the person’s clothing to view or attempt to view the person’s sexual or other intimate parts when a reasonable person would believe that the person’s sexual or intimate parts would not be visible to the public and without the person’s knowledge and consent.”

State Rep. Leah Cole, R-Peabody, said she was not able to vote on the measure as it passed in an informal session but she supported it. Cole said she was glad the Legislature acted so swiftly to clarify the law.

“I did get a lot of calls to my office right after this happened (the Supreme Judicial Court ruling on Wednesday),” she said, “and they could not believe there was a loophole like this ... I am glad that a woman can feel safe on the subway and they do not have to worry about people taking pictures of them.”

Like Salem’s Keenan, Cole expressed disappointment that the new law was even necessary.

“If you need a law to say not to take a picture up someone’s skirt, you are going to need a law for everything in the state,” she said.

As a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Ehrlich, the Marblehead representative, said she voted on the bill before it came to the floor. She emphasized that this bill not only outlaws “upskirting,” it creates protections for children as well as adults.

“I found it appalling the law did not have the capability of punishing such an offensive violation of privacy and it took a case to reveal this weakness,” she said.

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