HARRISBURG -The House Judiciary Committee today advanced legislation, sponsored Bucks County Reps. Craig Staats and Shelby Labs, which takes aim at a form of child sexual abuse known as “upskirting” whereby an adult takes photos up the skirts of unsuspecting individuals and posts the images online.
“Upskirting is an extremely traumatizing form of sexual abuse, particularly for teenage girls,” said Staats. “We cannot begin to imagine the shame, betrayal and anxiety victims feel when these images are posted and shared online for friends, family and everyone else to see.
“In my district, a Palisades High School math teacher was sentenced this week to a year in prison for upskirting, a misdemeanor under current law,” said Staats. “Our bill would dramatically increase the charges that can be brought against teachers and other adults who victimize students and other minors in this manner. House Bill 163
would make upskirting a felony of the third degree for a first offense and a felony of the second degree for subsequent offenses.”
“For teenage girls and younger children victimized by upskirting, it can be a life shattering experience, particularly as family, friends, peers, neighbors and the community at large learn of these images and see them,” said Labs. “Current laws are not sufficient to address this senseless and disgusting crime. Our bill would increase the grading for upskirting, making it possible for judges to hand down more severe sentences when children are violated in this way.”
House Bill 163 received unanimous approval in the House Judiciary Committee today and advances to the full House for consideration.
Representative Craig Staats
145th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham