MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law Friday with the intention of bringing Alabama's criminal code up-to-date with regards to sexual misconduct when technology is involved.
Senate Bill 301, which is also known a the Sex Offender Reporting Bill, adds five new offenses to Alabama's criminal code and also strengthens Alabama's existing sex-offenders laws.
"The most important duty of government is to keep our people safe," Ivey said. "I proudly signed SB301, because it protects the vulnerable in our society by ensuring that reporting requirements for sex offenders are strict and enforced."
The bill received bi-partisan support and support from the the Attorney General's Office and the Office of Prosecution Services.
"This legislation gives Alabama prosecutors one more tool to protect our children and other vulnerable persons from the devastating effects of sexual misconduct," Attorney General Steve Marshall said.
The new criminal offenses include:
- Distribution of a private image, also known as “revenge porn” or “nonconsensual pornography,” will now be a class A misdemeanor for the first offense and class C felony for subsequent offenses. This covers distributing intimate, private images of someone when the depicted person did not consent to the transmission and the perpetrator intended to harass or intimidate the depicted person.
- Sextortion is the use of threatening communications, often online, to induce the victim to engage in unwanted sexual activity. This will now be a class B felony.
- Assault with bodily fluids has increasingly occurred in recent years with the use of seminal fluid to attack a victim; attacking law enforcement personnel with bodily fluids is also a regrettably frequent occurrence in jails and prisons. This will now be a class A misdemeanor (or a class C felony if the offender knows he or she has a communicable disease).
- Directing children to engage in sexual acts will be a class C felony if the offender directs children to engage in sexual contact with one another; it becomes a class A felony if the offender directs the children to engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse.
Amendments to existing law were also made in that the existence of "electronic solicitation of a child" was broadened to cover certain grooming behaviors by would-be child molesters.
Provisions of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act were also strengthened in that juveniles may now be exempt from sex-offender registration by judges if they were found to have engaged in sexting-type behaviors.