The Florida Legislature has enacted 130 new laws which took effect July 1st, 2015. One of these new laws addresses a very important and growing issue in today’s world of emerging technology, Sexual Cyberharassment.
Sexual Cyberharassment involves a person publishing a sexually explicit image of another to Internet websites without the depicted person’s consent, for no legitimate purpose, with the intent of causing substantial emotional distress to the depicted person. When such images are published on Internet websites, they are able to be viewed indefinitely by persons worldwide and are able to be easily reproduced and shared, creating a permanent record of the depicted person’s private nudity or private sexually explicit conduct. The prevalence of sharing private sexually explicit images with one’s partner is growing at an alarming rate, and the exposure of such images on Internet websites often causes significant psychological harm to those depicted.
The State of Florida found it compelling to provide a remedy for such an atrocious act, embodied in Senate Bill 538. The bill provides that a person who willfully and maliciously sexually cyberharasses another person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree. A law enforcement officer may arrest, without a warrant, any person that he or she has probable cause to believe has violated this section. Furthermore, an aggrieved person may initiate a civil action against a person who violates this section to obtain all appropriate relief in order to prevent or remedy a violation, including: (a) Injunction relief, (b) Monetary damages to include $5,000 or actual damages incurred as a result of the violation, whichever is greater, and (c) Reasonable attorney fees and costs.
The passing of this law is a step in the right direction for the ever-evolving field of Cyber Law. If you believe you are a victim of Sexual Cyberharassment, please call us at Glachman & Brill, P.A. We understand that this can be a very difficult and embarrassing situation to navigate and we will handle your case with the utmost respect and compassion.