Bill Would Outlaw 'On Line Sexual Coercion'

In an example of the law always being one step behind the evil plans of criminals, a bill filed in the Texas Legislature seeks to criminalize efforts by men to use social media to convince underage girls to e-mail them pornographic photos of themselves, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

State Rep. Tony Dale (R-Georgetown) says there is a growing problem of adult men posing as kids on Facebook or Snapchat, then either by convincing the girls they are also young teens, or by getting a piece of information from the girl they can use to blackmail her, they convince the girl to e-mail them naked photos.

Dale says, just like so called 'upskirt photography' in the last session, this falls through the legal cracks and needs to be addressed.

"Sometimes when you talk about increasing punishments for various crimes, there could opposition to that, but I challenge anyone to stand up and say they are okay with this kind of behavior," Dale said.

'Upskirt photography' is when men use cell phone cameras to take photographs up women's skirts in stores and other public places.  Since people in public places generally have no expectation of privacy, lawmakers had to carefully write new 'improper photography' laws to criminalize that practice.

Dale's bill would make what is called 'on line sexual coercion' a State Jail Felony, punishable by up to three years behind bars.

He says this proposal has the support of the Texas Attorney General.

"We have seen a definite increase, absolutely we have," he said.  "And sadly, a majority of these cases go unreported."

IMAGE; GETTY

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