Senator Mensch Announces Legislation to Specifically Criminalize the Act of Upskirting

HARRISBURG – Today State Senator Bob Mensch (R-24) circulated a co-sponsorship memo on a piece of legislation that he is sponsoring that would further and explicitly criminalize the act of “upskirting” in Pennsylvania. The Senate Bill will mirror the House Bill that is being prime sponsored by State Representative Craig Staats (R-145) and State Representative Shelby Labs (R-143).

Back in January of 2020, a former math teacher and soccer coach at Palisades High School in Bucks County was found to be taking ‘upskirt’ photos of students and then sharing them online.  The teacher was charged with invasion of privacy and indecent exposure, and this is certainly the least of what he deserved.

“We believe, however, that Pennsylvania statute can more clearly punish acts like these, particularly when they are committed against minors and especially when they are committed by individuals in positions of authority,” Mensch said. “Specifically, our legislation will make this offense a third degree felony for a first offense and a second degree felony for subsequent offenses of invasion of privacy of a minor when committed by a person of authority, such as a teacher.”

“I want to ensure we are taking every action and precaution that we can to protect our youth from such heinous and disturbing acts which continue to put our children in life-damaging situations, mentally, physically and socially,” Labs said. “I have no tolerance for those who abuse and exploit our populations most vulnerable. Our legislation aims to strengthen our students’ protections by raising criminal charges for those who choose to make our young women victims.”

“A teacher in a school in my district used an iPad to upskirt a female student,” Staats said. “He was arrested and fired, but the penalty was essentially a slap on the wrist. It is time the perpetrators of child sex crimes suffer real consequences for their actions. By increasing the penalty for first offenses of upskirting to a felony of the third degree and subsequent instances to a felony of the second degree, we are putting perpetrators on notice that we are serious about child protection, and violations will come at a heavy cost – their freedom.”

With this legislation, we hope to send a strong message that invasions of privacy like this that do so much irreparable harm to our children will not be tolerated, and carry with them serious penalties and consequences.

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

 

CONTACT: Madison Scarfaro mscarfaro@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388