Cyberbullying isn’t limited to the 18-and-under set. Police in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, are seeking 40-year-old Danita Michaux for allegedly posting a nude photo of her son’s former girlfriend -- who was a preteen when the photo was taken.
The victim, who has not been identified, sent the photo in 2013 when she was just 12 years old, but her relationship with Michaux’s son, who was 11 or 12 at the time, ended in 2014. “After they broke up, the 12-year-old boy’s mother got ahold of the photos and later posted them with sexually disparaging remarks attached to the posting,” Trooper Matthew Jardine, of the Pennsylvania State Police, told CBS Pittsburgh.
The photo was then allegedly forwarded to the victim’s aunt, WTAE reported. It’s unclear why the charges are being brought now, more than a year after the incident. The photo was frontal and from the waist up.
Michaux hasn’t been brought into police custody, although she’s now facing charges of misdemeanor cyber harassment of a child and a felony count of criminal use of a communication facility, according to the criminal complaint.
“If you possess a nude photo of a person under the age of 18, you are in possession of child pornography, and if you send it to someone else, you are distributing child [pornography],” Jardine said.
Revenge porn -- when one party posts an intimate photo of someone without their consent, usually for the purposes of retribution -- is an increasingly fraught legal topic Although Pennsylvania does have revenge porn laws, prosecution is currently limited to former partners for the purposes of harassment, Philly Voice reported. Some legislators are now asking that the laws be changed. “I know that if we don’t get the language right, it’s not going to be helpful,” said Democratic state Sen. Judith Schwank. “We’ve got to get it right.”