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‘Upskirt’ Cellphone Photos Not Illegal In All States

Ladies, watch your step! Upskirt, “the practice of taking unauthorized photographs under a woman’s skirt,” may be legal in your state!

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Upskirt Photos May Be Legal In Your State

Michael Robertson was arrested back in 2010 for using his cellphone to take photos and video up female riders’ skirts and dresses.  An action referred to as “upskirt.” Yes, this is appalling!  Yet, wait until you hear what happened next.

 ‘UpSkirt’ Cellphone Photos Not Illegal In All States

The Supreme Judicial Court overruled a lower court that had upheld charges against Roberston.  Apparently the Boston perv did not violate state law because the women were not nude or partially nude.

Robertson is exempt from existing so-called Peeping Tom laws which protect people from being photographed in dressing rooms and bathrooms when nude or partially nude, but the way the law is written, it does not protect clothed people in public areas, the court said. It is all in the wording and state law has yet to catch up with technology.

“A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is ‘partially nude,’ no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing,” the court said in its ruling.

State law “does not apply to photographing (or videotaping or electronically surveilling) persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA,” the court said.

“What we have is not that the Supreme Judicial Court is saying this is OK,” Conley said. “The statutory language just didn’t quite fit the conduct.”

In its ruling, the court said that other states, including New York and Florida, have passed laws specifically criminalizing upskirt photos, noting that women have an expectation of privacy under their clothing. Washington lawmakers closed a loophole in that state’s voyeurism law a decade ago, after a similar ruling there.

Conley added that this conduct has become more and more prevalent, and he urged riders to be alert.

“This action is immoral and reprehensible; don’t do it,” he said.

Senate President Therese Murray said she was “stunned and disappointed” with the court ruling. She said the Senate will respond quickly.

“We have fought too hard and too long for women’s rights to take the step backward,” Murray said in a statement. “I am in disbelief that the courts would come to this kind of decision and outraged at what it means for women’s privacy and public safety.”

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said that Transit Police support the Suffolk County District Attorney’s efforts to work with the Legislature in rewriting the statute. He did not say what the MBTA could do in the meantime to prevent the activity.

District Attorney Dan Conley said prosecutors are hoping state lawmakers will change the wording of the statute by the end of this legislative session.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 ‘UpSkirt’ Cellphone Photos Not Illegal In All States

About Destaney Peters


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