Police prompt call for Maine law against revenge porn

Posted Dec. 28, 2013, at 6:59 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — A complaint to Houlton police about intimate photos of local women on anonymous websites, without their consent, have spurred warnings about online privacy and harassment, as well as calls for legislation to prevent it.

Houlton Police Chief Butch Asselin said Friday his department was recently made aware of postings on so-called “revenge porn” websites by a local parent. The website noted by the parent featured photographs of women from around Maine, but originates in Australia.

“Some of the women might not even know their picture is there,” said Asselin.

In many cases, Asselin said, former spouses or partners are posting these photos for the purposes of intimidation or harassment.

“Their motive can be revenge, to impact someone’s credibility or just to humiliate the individual and their family,” he said. In these cases, he added, a protection order may be warranted. Another remedy is for the victim may be to seek damages in a civil action.

Houlton Detective Stewart Kennedy has begun notifying any Houlton resident whose photo becomes posted on the website. Asselin said that many of the people he spoke to knew that their images were posted, but were unfamiliar with the removal process.

The chief said to curtail this type of activity, legislation similar to what California enacted in October is now needed in Maine.

California and New Jersey were the first states to specifically outlaw posting of revenge porn, although lawmakers in several other states are now considering it.

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