Indiana's high court upholds state's `revenge porn' law

Updated 1/22/2022 9:23 AM

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld the state's so-called 'úrevenge porn'Ě law that makes it a criminal act to distribute intimate images without consent.

In a 5-0 ruling issued Tuesday, the court found that the General Assembly did not run afoul of the free speech guarantees of either the Indiana Constitution or the U.S. Constitution when it enacted the law in 2019.


The law criminalized the nonconsensual distribution of intimate images, online or in-person, making doing so a class A misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine and/or a year in jail.

The ruling involved a Steuben County case where a Trine University student allegedly sent an explicit video to his ex-girlfriend through Snapchat.

Justice Mark Massa, writing for the state's high court, said that after an exhaustive review of state and national free speech protections the court found that the limited infringement on liberty imposed by the statute is 'úvastly outweighed by the public health, welfare, and safety served.'Ě

He noted that 'úrevenge porn'Ě is featured on some 10,000 websites, in addition to being distributed through social media, blogs, emails and text messages - often with the names and contact information for the individuals depicted in the images attached to the images.

'úFaced with the widespread and growing problem of nonconsensual pornography, the legislature acted within its authority to safeguard the health and safety of its citizens from this unique and serious crime,'Ě the court said in its ruling.

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