Ullman, Staats introduce bill to protect young girls from upskirting
HARRISBURG, May 12 – State Reps. Wendy Ullman, D-Bucks, and Craig Staats, R-Bucks, announced today they have introduced H.B. 2453, which would increase the charges that can be brought against teachers and adults who victimize students and minors through upskirting — the taking of photographs under a girl’s skirt and then posting them online.
The bill would make the offense a third-degree felony for a first violation and a second-degree felony for subsequent offenses.
“Upskirting is an extremely traumatic form of sexual abuse that violates a victim’s sense of autonomy, personal safety, trust and very selfhood,” Ullman said. “Our legislation seeks to provide justice for victims by making the punishment fit the crime.”
Currently, the only criminal charges that can be brought against the victimizer are misdemeanors, similar to the charges for shoplifting – up to one year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine in exchange for a lifetime of trauma.
“These are selfish, humiliating acts against innocent children, and the current penalties are woefully insufficient,” Staats said. “It is time the perpetrators of child sex crimes suffer real consequences for their actions and this bill helps to achieve that.”
According to Ullman and Staats, upskirting happened to several young women in a school district that they share, where a male teacher took “upskirt” photographs and posted them to illicit websites.
The bill currently is in the Judiciary Committee. Those interested in sending an email urging support can click here.