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Alabama Senate votes to make ‘upskirting’ illegal

February 8, 2018

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — It would be illegal to secretly take video or photos under a person’s clothes — a lewd practice sometimes known as “upskirting” — under a bill passed Thursday by the Alabama Senate.

State senators voted 27-0 for the legislation that now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.

Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss of Prattville said it has been difficult to prosecute offenders under existing law.

“This is a first step in getting justice for those folks that have been a victim of this,” Chambliss, the sponsor of the bill, said.

The bill would make it a crime to secretly photograph or record the “private, intimate body parts of another person, without that person’s consent” in a setting where the person should be able to expect privacy.

Chambliss said the legislation was inspired by a case in Prattville where a man, while pretending to browse on a store’s lower shelf, used his phone to secretly film up a woman’s skirt. Chambliss said the man was arrested, but the case was dismissed because the law “does not specifically outlaw that.”

Georgia lawmakers passed a similar bill last year after a court there ruled that upskirting was not illegal.

Since introducing the bill, he said he has been contacted by a number of women who have been a victim of upskirting.

“It’s a very emotional issue for them. They feel defiled, invaded of their privacy. ... They felt disenfranchised by the law. They didn’t get the justice that they needed,” Chambliss said.

Violations would be a felony. An amendment added to the bill would make it a misdemeanor for offenders 16 and younger.

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