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S.15

AN ACT RELATING TO VOYEURISM

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  13 V.S.A. § 2638 is added to read:

§ 2638.  VOYEURISM

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy” means circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that his or her intimate areas would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private area.

(2)  “Female breast” means any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola;

(3)  “Intimate areas” means the naked or undergarment-clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast of a person.

(4)  “Place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy” means:

(A)  a place in which a reasonable person would believe that he or she could disrobe in privacy, without his or her undressing being viewed by another; or

(B)  a place in which a reasonable person would expect to be safe from unwanted intrusion or surveillance.

(5)  “Surveillance” means secret observation of the activities of another person for the purpose of spying upon and invading the privacy of the person.

(6)  “View” means the intentional looking upon of another person for more than a brief period of time, in other than a casual or cursory manner, with the unaided eye or a device designed or intended to improve visual acuity.

(b)  No person shall knowingly and intentionally view, photograph, film, or record in any format:

(1)  the intimate areas of another person without that person’s knowledge and consent while the person being viewed, photographed, filmed, or recorded is in a place where he or she would have a reasonable expectation of privacy; or

(2)  the intimate areas of another person without that person’s knowledge and consent and under circumstances in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(c)  No person shall disseminate any image recorded in violation of subsection (b) of this section. 

(d)  A person may view, photograph, film, or record the intimate areas of a person, except in a restroom, as part of a security or theft prevention policy or program at a bona fide place of business if the business has posted public notice of the activity in a prominent and accessible location which can be seen easily by a person entering an area in which he or she may disrobe.  Notice shall be posted on a sign with dimensions of at least 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches and be of a typeface that is easily read.  Any recorded image shall not be disseminated unless authorized by a court order, as discovery in a pending administrative, civil, or criminal action, or in connection with any employment‑related action, and when so disseminated, it shall be under seal and shall not be redisseminated for any other unrelated purpose.

(e)  This section shall not apply to:

(1)  a law enforcement officer conducting official law enforcement activities in accordance with state and federal law; or

(2)  official activities of the department of corrections, a law enforcement agency, the agency of human services, or a court for security purposes or during the investigation of alleged misconduct by a person in the custody of the department of corrections, a law enforcement agency, the agency of human services, or a court.

(f)  This section is not intended to infringe upon the freedom of the press to gather and disseminate news as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(g)  It shall be an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (b) of this section that the defendant was a licensed private investigator or licensed security guard conducting surveillance in the ordinary course of business, and the violation was unintentional and incidental.  However, an unintentional or incidental violation of subsection (b) of this section shall not be a defense to a violation of subsection (c).

(h)  For a first offense, a person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.  For a second or subsequent offense, a person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.  A person who violates subsection (c) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both. 

(i)  A person who violates subsection (d) of this section by failure to properly post notice of surveillance shall be fined not more than $1,000.00.  A person who violates subsection (d) of this section by conducting surveillance in a restroom shall be fined not more than $10,000.00.

Sec. 2.  13 V.S.A. § 2639 is added to read:

§ 2639.  DISTRIBUTION OF IMAGES WITHOUT CONSENT

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Circumstances under which a person has a reasonable expectation that a recorded image would not be made public” means circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a recorded image of his or her intimate areas would not be viewed by a person who was not present during the recording of the image.

(2)  “Female breast” means any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola;

(3)  “Intimate areas” means the naked or undergarment-clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast of a person.

(b)  No person shall knowingly disseminate an image of another person’s intimate areas that was recorded under circumstances under which the person has a reasonable expectation that the recorded image would not be made public, without that person’s written consent to the initial dissemination of that image, regardless of whether the person consented to the recording of the image.  This subsection shall not apply to secondary or subsequent dissemination of the image.  Viewing images disseminated in violation of this subsection shall not be a crime under this section. 

(c)  A person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

Sec. 3.  13 V.S.A. § 5401(10) is amended to read:

(10)  “Sex offender” means:

(A)  A person who is convicted in any jurisdiction of the United States, including a state, territory, commonwealth, the District of Columbia, or military, federal, or tribal court of any of the following offenses:

(i)  sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3252;

(ii)  aggravated sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3253;

(iii)  lewd and lascivious conduct as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2601;

(iv)  sexual activity by a caregiver as defined in 33 V.S.A. § 6913(d);

(v)  second or subsequent conviction for voyeurism as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2638(b) or (c); and

(vi)  an attempt to commit any offense listed in this subdivision.

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Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us