Revenge Porn Laws in Alaska

Revenge porn is a type of harassment of the second degree in Alaska. When a minor is the victim, the punishment is increased.

It is a crime in Alaska to engage in “revenge porn” by posting or otherwise distributing explicitly sexual or intimate images of another person without that person’s consent. Revenge porn, which is a form of nonconsensual pornography (NCP), is also sometimes called “cyber exploitation.” Although many incidents of revenge porn are committed by disgruntled ex-partners, strangers may also commit NCP by hacking into others’ accounts or devices and then posting images they find.

Many states' criminal laws do not explicitly address nonconsensual pornography. Instead, they apply existing laws in NCP situations. Alaska has specific laws designed just for NCP, described in detail below. For more information about nonconsensual pornography in general, see Revenge Porn: Laws and Penalties.

Alaska Nonconsensual Pornography Law

Under Alaska law, revenge porn and all other types of NCP fit within the crime of harassment in the second degree. And, anyone committing NCP by posting an image of a minor faces conviction of a greater crime with correspondingly greater penalties. Finally, it is a crime in Alaska to view or take an explicit image of another person without the consent of that person or of their guardian (if the person shown is a minor).

Harassment in the Second Degree

In Alaska, it is a crime for any person, with the intent to harass or annoy another, to

  • publish or distribute electronic or printed photographs, pictures, or films that
  • show the genitals, anus, or female breast of the other person, or
  • depict that person engaged in a sexual act.

(Alaska Stat. § 11.61.120.)

Indecent Viewing

A person commits the crime of indecent viewing or photography by knowingly viewing or producing a picture of the “private exposure” of the genitals, anus, or female breast of another person without the knowledge or consent of the other person or their guardian, if the person observed is a minor. (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.123.)

As explained in the sections just below, the Alaska statute defines the terms “picture” and “private exposure” for use in connection with the law.

What Is a “Picture”?

As used in the Alaska law, the term “picture” means “a film, photograph, negative, slide, book, newspaper, or magazine, whether in print, electronic, magnetic, or digital format.” (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.123.)

What Is a “Private Exposure”?

As used in the Alaska law, a “private exposure” means that the person depicted has exposed his or her body or body part “in a place, and under circumstances, that the person reasonably believed would not result in the person’s body or body parts being (A) viewed by the defendant; or (B) produced in a picture.” (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.123.)

Sending an Explicit Image of a Minor

It is a crime in Alaska to send an explicit image of a minor with the intent to annoy or humiliate another person. A person commits this crime by

  • distributing an electronic photograph or video that
  • depicts the genitals, anus, or female breast
  • taken when the person depicted was under the age of 16
  • with the intent to annoy or humiliate another person.

(Alaska Stat. § 11.61.116.)

As used in this statute, the term “distribute” means to deliver the image to another person by sending the image to the other person's computer or telephone. (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.116.)

Defenses

There are a few defenses available to a person charged with the crimes discussed above.

No Intent to Harass or Annoy

Both the crime of harassment in the second degree and of sending an explicit image of a minor require that the perpetrator intend to harass or annoy another person by engaging in the conduct. (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.116, Alaska Stat. § 11.61.120.) So, if the person who publishes, distributes, or sends the image does so without intending to harass or annoy another person, he or she may raise this lack of intent as a defense.

For example, a creative photographer who took explicit photos for their artistic value and sent them to the subject of the photographs for mutual enjoyment could raise lack of required intent to harass or annoy as a defense.

Consent

Consent is a defense to the crime of indecent viewing. (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.123.) If the person observed or photographed consented (or, where the person was a minor at the time, their guardian consented) to being observed or photographed, an individual charged with indecent viewing may raise this consent as a defense.

However, consent is not a defense to either harassment in the second degree or to sending explicit images of a minor. This is in part because these crimes require that the perpetrator intend to harass or annoy the victim. (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.116, Alaska Stat. § 11.61.120.)

No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Indecent viewing occurs only when the perpetrator has viewed or photographed another person’s body or sexual activity in a “private exposure” in which the person reasonably believed that they would not be viewed or photographed. (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.123.) So, if a person exposes his or her genitals or other private parts in a public area, an individual viewing or photographing them would have the defense that the person exposed had no reasonable expectation of privacy.

How is Nonconsensual Pornography Punished in Alaska?

Harassment in the second degree, indecent viewing, and sending explicit images of a minor are serious crimes in Alaska, subjecting those convicted of them to jail or prison time and fines.

Punishment for Harassment in the Second Degree

Harassment in the second degree is a Class B misdemeanor in Alaska. Anyone convicted of the crime faces a jail sentence of not more than 90 days (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.135), a fine of $2,000 (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035), or both.

Punishment for Indecent Viewing

Indecent viewing is a Class A misdemeanor in Alaska if the person viewed or photographed is an adult and a Class C felony if the person viewed or photographed is a minor. (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.123.) Anyone convicted of the Class A misdemeanor of indecent viewing (that is, where the victim is an adult) faces a jail sentence of not more than one year (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.135), a fine of $10,000 (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035), or both. Anyone convicted of the Class C felony of indecent viewing (that is, where the victim is a minor) faces a prison sentence of not more than five years (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.125), a fine of $50,000 (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035), or both.

Punishment for Sending an Explicit Image of a Minor

Sending an explicit image of a minor is a Class B misdemeanor in Alaska if the perpetrator sends the image to another person. (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.116.) However, the crime becomes a Class A misdemeanor if the perpetrator distributes or posts the image to an internet website accessible to the public. (Alaska Stat. § 11.61.116.)

Anyone convicted of a Class B misdemeanor for sending an explicit image of a minor (that is, where the image was sent to another person) faces a jail sentence of not more than 90 days (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.135), a fine of not more than $2,000 (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035), or both.

Anyone convicted of the Class A misdemeanor of sending an explicit image of a minor (that is, where the image was posted to a website) faces a jail sentence of not more than one year (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.135), a fine of $10,000 (Alaska Stat. § 12.55.035), or both.

Copyright Protections

In addition to reporting a potential crime as described above, a victim of nonconsensual pornography may use copyright laws to demand removal of the offending images from whatever site or publication has displayed them. For more information, see Using Copyright Law to Combat Revenge Porn.

Other Ways to Address NCP

If you have been a victim of nonconsensual pornography posted on social media, you may want to report the NCP to the social media companies in question. The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a non-profit devoted to helping victims of NCP, has published an online guide to steps victims can take to address NCP.

Consult With a Lawyer

Nonconsensual pornography is a serious crime. If you have been charged with the crime, have been the victim of it, or have any questions about NCP or any other sexual crime, contact a lawyer experienced in criminal defense law in your state.

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