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Have you been accused of sharing “revenge porn?”

On Behalf of | May 21, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Break-ups are hard. If someone has ended a romantic relationship with you, it’s not unusual to feel devastated and angry — especially if you’ve been cheated on or otherwise betrayed. 

Unfortunately, people sometimes get back at a former girlfriend or boyfriend by scrolling through their phone, finding intimate photos or videos of them and posting them online. These images will almost certainly cause personal embarrassment and could even cost them their job and other relationships.

The common term for sharing such images without someone’s permission is “revenge porn.” The law typically refers to it as “non-consensual pornography.” What’s important to know is that in Ohio, as in most states, it’s illegal.

Understanding Ohio’s law

Under Ohio law, it’s illegal to share or post images of a person who is partially or completely nude or engaged in sexual activity without their permission when that person is identifiable (for example, because their face is visible or the person disseminating the image included information that identifies them) with the intention to cause them harm. Note that if the person is a minor, it’s illegal to share such an image even with their permission.

In Ohio, the offense is a misdemeanor. However, the level of misdemeanor charge you could face (and the consequences) vary based on whether it’s a first offense or subsequent one. You can face jail time as well as fines. The alleged victim can also sue you in civil court.  However, the level of misdemeanor as well as the potential jail term and the fines increase with each subsequent offense.  

Ohio law also allows victims to sue the person they claim distributed the images. While non-consensual pornography isn’t a crime under federal law, alleged victims can also sue in federal court.

If you’re facing a revenge porn charge, it’s important to take it seriously. Whether an image was shared by mistake, someone else gained access to your phone or other device or you acted rashly in a moment of anger, it’s crucial to protect your rights. Getting experienced legal guidance as soon as possible is a good first step toward protecting your future.