Sending unsolicited lewd photos could become a crime in NJ

Sending unsolicited lewd photos could become a crime in NJ

Assemblywoman Aura Dunn

TRENTON, N.J. – Texting a lewd photo to someone without their consent could soon be a crime in New Jersey under a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Aura Dunn and passed by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Monday.

“Sexual harassment and indecent exposure have evolved with technology and that is what this bill aims to address. Texting unwanted pornographic photos has become too common and the perpetrators out there need to be deterred and face consequences for continuing their unsolicited advances and offenses,” Dunn (R-Morris) said.

The bill (A1939) treats the sending of unsolicited nude pictures like flashing or streaking by incorporating it under the lewdness criminal statutes. Under the bill, sending an unsolicited nude photo would become a disorderly persons offense, which is punishable by up to six months imprisonment, a $1,000 fine, or both. If the person sending the photo knows or reasonably expects it will be observed by a child under 13, it is upgraded to a fourth-degree crime and punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.

“Young women are overwhelmingly the victims in these types of incidents and they need to be protected. In today’s digital world, they can be targeted, coerced, humiliated and harassed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This law would give them legal recourse,” Dunn said.

Dunn was also a prime sponsor of a 2023 law that criminalized sexual extortion, the act of stealing sexual images and then threatening to spread them, or coercing someone into taking explicit photos or videos to use them for blackmail.