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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Lawmakers Debate Increased Penalties For Surreptitious Images Of 'Intimate Parts'

Today was the first hearing of Senator Jennifer Fielder’s bill (SB50) to increase penalties for those who take video or pictures of people’s “intimate parts” without their knowledge.

This proposal comes after a Jensen Jewelers employee was convicted of hiding a camera in the women’s bathroom. Lewis and Clark Deputy County Attorney Luke Berger says the man was later found with 96 similar pieces of footage.

“And when it came down to it, under the old penalties, this was 96 misdemeanors."

Later, the man was charged with a felony when videotapes of a private residence were found. One of the victims who was taped in public came forward this morning in support of the bill.

“I can’t tell you what kind of a feeling it is to know that someone has repeatedly violated your privacy, only to find out that an offense like this is classified as a misdemeanor.”

Some opponents expressed concern that under the bill, someone could accidentally catch footage of someone indisposed and be arrested because of it.

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