After MA High Court Rules “Upskirting” Legal, Legislators Vow Action


A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling dismissing “Peeping Tom” charges against a man accused of taking photographs up women's skirts on public trolleys quickly drew calls for legislation to outlaw the practice, reports the Boston Globe. The court unanimously said the state’s criminal voyeurism law does not apply to what is known as “upskirting,'' but prosecutors and state legislators said they will pass a new law to address what some called a criminal form of sexual harassment. “No respectable citizen wants this situation to be allowed to continue,” said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, whose office prosecuted the case. “Every person, male or female, has a right to privacy beneath his or her own clothing.”

At least two bills introduced in recent years could have made the practice of upskirting illegal, but the legislation went nowhere. Senate President Therese Murray said she was “stunned and disappointed” and that the “Senate will act swiftly. We have fought too hard and too long for women's rights to take the step backward that they did today.” Prosecutors needed to prove that women had a reasonable expectation of privacy on the train and that they were photographed while nude or partially nude. The court found that prosecutors failed to meet those requirements. “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.

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