Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa lawmaker wants to toughen penalty for video voyeurism

TAMPA — Last summer, Rep. Dana Young heard about the two Bulgarian women who found hidden cameras inside their west Hillsborough apartment.

The part that surprised her most: Video voyeurism is only a misdemeanor.

"You can destroy someone's life, their career, without their even knowing they've been put on video," said Young, a Tampa Republican.

Spurred by that case and others, Young is pushing legislation that would toughen the penalties in video voyeur cases.

Currently, a first-time violation is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum one-year jail sentence and $1,000 fine. House Bill 215 would make it a third-degree felony, which increases the maximum punishments to a five-year sentence and $5,000 fine.

A person is guilty of video voyeurism if they secretly record someone who is dressing, undressing or nude when the victims have a "reasonable expectation of privacy."

Young said changes in technology — including the ability to stream videos onto the Web — justify increasing the penalties.

Another significant change would be to make it easier for authorities to obtain evidence.

She said authorities can't obtain a search warrant if the crime is only a misdemeanor.

"By increasing the level of crime to felony you're giving the law enforcement the tools they need to crack down and get these folks," she said.

In the case of the Bulgarian women who found the cameras, the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office closed its investigation, saying it found no evidence that the cameras transmitted or recorded images. The two women sued the landlord, whom they accused of setting up the camera system.

Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, is sponsoring similar legislation.

Attorney General Pam Bondi supports the bills, and Young said Bondi spoke this week with Erin Andrews, the ESPN reporter who was secretly videotaped in a hotel in 2009. The man who recorded Andrews posted the images on the Internet.

Young said if her legislation gets to the House floor, Andrews expects to attend. "She is victimized every single time someone views that video clip," said Young. "It still feels just as raw and hurtful today."

Reach Jodie Tillman at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374.

Tampa lawmaker wants to toughen penalty for video voyeurism 01/11/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 8:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. This unidentified man was punched outside of Richard Spencer's speech in Gainesville.
  2. Pentagon faces demands for details on deadly attack in Niger


    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration had no answers Thursday to key questions two weeks after an ambush in the African nation of Niger killed four U.S. soldiers, prompting demands in Congress for details, complaints of Pentagon stonewalling and a comparison to the 2012 Benghazi attack. The White House defended …

    In this image provided by the U.S. Army, a carry team of soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), carry the transfer case during a casualty return for Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, of Lyons, Ga., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Oct. 5, 2017. U.S. and Niger forces were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders when they were ambushed on Oct. 4 and Wright and three other soldiers were killed. There were about a dozen U.S. troops and a company of Niger forces, for a total of about 40 service members in the joint mission. [Pfc. Lane Hiser | U.S. Army via AP]
  3. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
  4. Rick Baker revises controversial radio ad, Rick Kriseman's campaign says former mayor is "dishonest" and "desperate"


    Rick Baker’s campaign has revised a controversial radio ad that had incorrectly stated Mayor Rick Kriseman hadn’t “bothered to show up” at a NAACP event earlier this month.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says former mayor Rick Baker is dishonest and desperate for airing a radio ad that has since been revised
  5. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport


    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]