ST. PAUL, MN - Today State Representative John Lesch (DFL – St. Paul) is proposing a panel to comprehensively address Minnesota’s lack of protection for victims of so-called “revenge porn” offenses. Yesterday, in a Court of Appeals ruling handed down by Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Denise Reilly, the Criminal Defamation Statute used in a 2013 Isanti County crime was found to be unconstitutional.
“This is a reprehensible crime which has far reaching impact on its victims and their loved ones,” said Representative Lesch, “There are over 15 states which successfully outlaw such gruesome behavior, and I believe we have the legal talent in Minnesota to accomplish the same.”
Rep. Lesch proposed a panel of legal and citizen experts including Jeff Edblad, the Isanti County Attorney who prosecuted the case which was overturned in yesterday’s ruling.
Rep. Lesch is proposing a panel of stakeholders to create a law that will not only hold up in court, but which will achieve justice for victims. As a starting point, Lesch endorses the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative’s 7 pillars of an effective Revenge Porn Statute: (1) Motives are irrelevant, (2) Selfies are included, (3) Strong penalties, (4) Not just nudity, and inclusive of the behavior in the Isanti County Case, (5) Penalties for 3rd party distributors, (6) 1st Amendment protections, and (7) Protection of victims personal information.
“If we are to be successful, we must include City Attorneys, who inevitably will handle the vast majority of these types of cases, and the voices of victims, but also free speech advocates who believe any law could implicate their own legitimate work.” said Rep. Lesch.
Rep. Lesch plans to complete discussions with stakeholders by the end of June, and to begin working group deliberations shortly thereafter.
Rep. John Lesch encourages constituents to contact him on any issue. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or phone at 651-296-4224.