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Victim Happy Mass. Lawmakers Made ‘Upskirting’ Illegal

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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Jim Armstrong is an Emmy-award winning reporter who joined WBZ-TV in...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The state is close to enacting a law that would make it a crime for someone to take a so-called “upskirt” photo.

The new law is the result of outrage that followed Wednesday’s ruling by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. The justices ruled that a case against an Andover man had to be thrown out because state law did not specifically make “upskirting” illegal.

In that 2010 case, Michael Robertson was arrested for allegedly using his cell phone to take pictures up the dresses of female passengers on the MBTA Green Line.

One of his victims spoke to WBZ after the new law was passed; she has asked us not to release her name. “I was very angry when this first happened,” she explained. “Because it is invasion of privacy and nobody should have to worry about people taking pictures of them on public transportation.”

Lawmakers were just as outraged. Less than a day later, legislators had drafted and passed a brand new law making upskirting a misdemeanor. Disseminating photos taken that way would be a felony. The law passed unanimously in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“I’m happy with the speed but I’m very unhappy that we had to do this today, that this is not illegal activity already,” explained Senate President Therese Murray. “It’s an assault. And women and children should be able to go to public places without feeling they are not protected by the law.”

Her counterpart in the House, Speaker Robert DeLeo, agreed.

“Once the decision was received by all of us [Wednesday] night,” DeLeo said, “I think that there was a feeling that something had to be done, and had to be done quickly.”

“We consider this type of behavior to be totally unacceptable,” DeLeo continued. “And now that we have a law that can be enforced, they’re going to be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.”

The victim from that 2010 case, who spoke exclusively to WBZ, is also pleased with lawmakers’ fast action.

“I think that just goes to show that they realize the injustice that was done,” she said. “And they don’t want anyone going through that, or don’t want it happening again.”

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