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Identifying sexual cyberharassment

No one should have to endure harassment. Thankfully, there are legal measures in place to aid those who may find themselves in a harassing situation.

In the age of media, cyberharassment is a somewhat common form of sexual harassment parties may have to deal with. Parties should understand a few key aspects of this form of harassment.

Definition

In short, sexual cyberharassment is the publishing of sexually explicit images of another party with identifying information or factors without the party's consent and without a legitimate purpose. It is important to note that the image may have initially been acquired with consent. However, if the exposed party does not give consent, and the action meets the other requirements, it still constitutes harassment.

Key elements

Several aspects contribute to distinguishing sexual cyberharassment from other types of explicit material. The party in the photo must be . Even if the party can recognize him or herself, if there are no  marks or identifying information in the photo, it may not constitute harassment. Also, the intent of publishing the photo must be clear. Parties who can show that the purpose of the photo was to cause emotional distress, such as a workplace romance gone wrong, may have a strong case. 

Penalties

The penalties for sexual cyberharassment are quite serious. While judges have some discretion, there are set limits for sentencing. First offenses classify as first degree misdemeanors and require a minimum probationary period but may carry up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. A second offense rises to a third-degree felony, which requires at least five days in prison but can include up to five years in prison, five years of probation, 60 days of vehicle  and $5,000 in fines.

While cyberharassment may seem like an open-and-shut type of case, many parties try to combat such charges. Therefore, building a strong case is key to putting an end to such impositions.

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