Governor signs Kerkman/Wanggaard locker room hidden-camera law

A bill drafted by state Rep. Samantha Kerkman and state Sen. Van Wanggaard that increases penalties for taking clandestine photos or videos of nude adults or children was among over 50 bills signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker Wednesday.

From a media release:

(Wednesday) Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 566 into law.  Assembly Bill 566 was drafted and introduced by Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) and Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) in response to the locker room hidden-camera case in which women and children were secretly video-taped in the locker room of the recreation facility in Kenosha County by another facility-user.  On hand to witness the moment were the Kenosha County residents Christina Walker and her daughter Mia who initially discovered the hidden cameras and called authorities, and later traveled to Madison to testify in favor of the legislation.  Because many of the victims in the case were children, the legislation focuses on increasing penalties for all peeping tom and depicting nudity offenses when the victim is under 18 years old.  Prior to the signing of AB 566 – now Act 320 these types of crime carried the same penalties whether the offense was committed against an adult or a child. “It’s a different world than when these statutes were first written,” said Rep. Kerkman.  “Digital camera technology make it all too easy for perpetrators to capture clandestine images and the internet provides a truly frightening potential lifespan for those illicit nude photos and videos.  Our children deserve better protections against those who seek to exploit them.” Act 320 increases the penalty for taking photos or videos of nude or partially nude adults in a locker room from a Class B misdemeanor – which has a maximum penalty of $1,000 fine or up to 90 days in jail or both – to a Class A misdemeanor (up to $10,000 and/or up to 9 months) and increases the penalty for taking nude or partially nude photos or videos of a minor from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class I felony (up to $10,000 and/or up to 3.5 years).  If the perpetrator also distributes the photos or videos, the penalties increase from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class I felony for adult victims, and from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class H felony (up to $10,000 and/or up to 6 years) for minor victims.  Additionally, for all other types of invasion of privacy offenses and capturing nudity offenses, the penalties are increased by one level of severity when the victim is a minor. In the locker room case, a female hid multiple cameras in the women’s locker room over the course of nearly three years to record people changing. The individual did this at the request of a co-worker and supervisor whom she had been involved with and to whom she turned over the locker room footage.  Prosecutors were able to identify 47 individual women and children victims from the multitude of people whose images were captured on video.  The crime had an extensive reach – from the number of victims and families affected to the extensive collection of video footage the perpetrators amassed – over 50 terabytes of data including footage from additional hidden-camera locations. “These actions are reprehensible, but become even more despicable when these videos are taken of children. Our children cannot protect themselves, and this bill stiffens penalties to help shield Wisconsin children from predators,” said Sen. Wanggaard. Representative Kerkman and Senator Wanggaard are grateful for the community of effort involved in investigating and prosecuting the case, as well as in drafting and passing the bill into law.  This outcome is truly the result of many, many people working together for the best possible outcome.  They extend special thanks to Pleasant Prairie Police Chief Smetana, and Assistant District Attorney Graveley for their dedication.

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