Even fifteen to twenty years ago the concept of revenge porn would have probably seemed a bit bizarre. A spurned ex-lover may have been able to use intimate photographs to cause the person embarrassment in their social circles, but widespread embarrassment caused by broad publication was seemingly something that only celebrities had to concern themselves with. That is, a person did not have to worry about photos being mistakenly or intentionally released and splashed across the globe because the Internet and social networks had yet to develop to their current level of ubiquity.

However, sensing the trend in this direction, New Jersey was the first state in the nation to recognize the emerging problem presented by revenge porn. New Jersey Law protects individuals who believe that they have been the victim of a revenge porn incident. However, the law is frequently misunderstood and people end up facing serious New Jersey criminal charges because they mistakenly believed that they needed to have a malicious or ill-intent behind releasing the photographs. The Law Offices of John J. Zarych is dedicated to informing people about the scope of the law and defending those caught-up in a difficult criminal situation due to a mistake or misperceived actions.

What is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is, essentially, an umbrella term that covers a broad array of behaviors that uses a sexual photographs or videos to embarrass or humiliate the individual that was photographed. Revenge porn can take many forms, but it will typically identify its victim by name, age and location as to further embarrass and humiliate the subject. Despite its name, revenge porn doesn’t require intent to humiliate or to embarrass, but it often does. Types of revenge porn acts and schemes have included:

  • Web sites encouraging spurned ex-lovers to release intimate photos and videos.
  • Pornographic websites that encourages boyfriends or girlfriends to send sexually explicit materials without securing consent of the partner.
  • Hackers who may target individual’s machines or cloud accounts for sexually explicit photos. The infamous leaks of nude celebrity photos have been obtained through this method.
  • Computer repair technicians who discover sexually explicit photos on a client’s machine and upload them.
  • Misconfiguration of P2P sharing settings results in the exposure of private photos or videos. These private photos or videos are then published online.

In short, while the act of revenge porn can be motivated by a youthful indiscretion or simply failing to consider the consequences of one’s actions, both motivations and situations can result in punishment under New Jersey law.

woman in depression

The Revenge Porn Charges Faced by the Former Football Player

The revenge porn charges stemmed from a December 29, 2014 arrest at Jermaine Cunningham’s Summit apartment. According to news reports, police arrived to Cunningham’s apartment after responding to a 911 call alleging that a domestic dispute was in progress. At a court hearing in May, Cunningham pleaded guilty to the charges he faced and admitted that he posted photographs to his Instagram account that depicted a woman’s inner thigh, groin and buttocks. The photographs were tagged with the woman’s name. Cunningham admitted that he did not have permission to post these images.

Criminal hands locked in handcuffs. Close-up view

What Constitutes Revenge Porn Harassment Under New Jersey State Law?

Under new Jersey State Law, both the unauthorized taking of certain photographs or videos and the unauthorized disclosure of certain photographs and videos. 2C:14-9(b) holds that it is a third degree crime for when a person knows that they are not authorized to do so, they “photographs, films, videotapes, records, or otherwise reproduces in any manner, the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, without that person’s consent and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed.” In New Jersey a third degree crime can be punished by one to five years of imprisonment.

Furthermore, it is also a third degree crime for an individual who knows that he or she is not authorized to disclose, to disclose “any photograph, film, videotape, recording or any other reproduction of the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, unless that person has consented to such disclosure.” For the purposes of this criminal statute, ‘disclose’ is broadly defined and includes most forms of dissemination including mailing, transferring, distributing, advertising, offering, exhibiting, sharing, and publishing. Aside from the typical term of imprisonment that can be imposed for a third degree crime, those convicted of disclosing sexual photos or videos can also face a fine of up to $30,000.

Facing Revenge Porn Charges in New Jersey and Seeking an Atlantic City Criminal Defense Lawyer?

The experienced Atlantic City criminal lawyers of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are committed to fighting for people facing serious criminal charges and allegations. Our lawyers work to prepare a strategic and aggressive defense of your rights to mitigate or eliminate the criminal consequences you face. To schedule a free, confidential criminal defense consultation call us at (609) 616-4956 or contact us online.