MORGANTOWN — A 19-year-old faces a misdemeanor for sharing an intimate picture of a person online without her consent.
The charge — nonconsensual disclosure of private images — is new and Gov. Jim Justice (R-W.Va.) signed it into law in the spring. The act is commonly referred to as “revenge porn” as some suspects use private images to embarrass, blackmail or coerce the victim.
The WVU Police Department charged Matthew J. Dellavalle with the crime. He was arraigned in Monongalia County Magistrate Court on Jan. 25, with bail set at $5,000.
According to his criminal complaint: In November, the victim told police that Dellavalle took a private image of her and it was shared on a social media website.
The website contacted the victim and provided her the picture.
The victim told police that items in the background of the photo were from Dellavalle’s room.
Dellavalle spoke to officials from WVU’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and he stated that he sent the picture to the website.
Police say the victim did not consent to the picture being posted online.
Nonconsensual disclosure of private images carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. A second conviction of the charge is a felony and carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.
The law prevents individuals from disclosing private images with the “intent to harass, intimidate, threaten, humiliate, embarrass or coerce” where the person had a reasonable expectation that the picture would not be shown.
Image, in state law, means still photo or video.
The law does not apply to an image where consent was given and images of people voluntarily exposing themselves in public or a commercial setting.
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