Bill would criminalize illegal sharing of personal images

A bill sponsored by MP Marianne Butteschon creating criminal and civil penalties for the dissemination of personal images has passed the Assembly.

Buttenschon’s legislation would establish the torts of unlawful dissemination of a personal image at the first and second degrees and create a right of private action for such torts.

In July 2019, 17-year-old Bianca Devins of Utica was killed and her attacker posted graphic photos of her body on various social media platforms.

The response to the spread of these photographs by social media sites, including Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, has been widely criticized as slow and inconsistent, Buttenschon said.

He also sent them directly to members of Devins’ family.

“Almost three years ago, the life of 17-year-old Bianca Devins was cut short by an attack of senseless violence,” Buttenschon said. “Her tragic death was exploited for the likes and follows after her attacker posted photos of her to various bodies on various social media sites. No one should ever have to endure such trauma. Bianca and her family deserve peace, and this legislation would ensure that those who share images online to degrade or humiliate others will be held accountable for their actions.

The legislation, which passed the Assembly for the second time, now goes to the Senate.

Cicero’s Brandon Clark was sentenced to 25 years to life in March last year following his February 2020 guilty plea to second-degree murder in the 2019 Boilermaker Sunday murder of Bianca Devins.

Clark admitted to killing Devins after seeing her kiss another man at a concert the two attended in New York the night before.

Prosecutors who described the two as having a relationship, but stopped short of calling them a couple.

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