E-mail update from Indiana State Senator Tom Wyss (R-Fort Wayne):
Wyss: Senate supports strengthening voyeurism law, bill moves to house
Fort Wayne lawmaker works to add new crime, protect unsuspecting victims
Senate lawmakers voted 42-8 today to strengthen Indiana’s voyeurism law by prohibiting criminals from taking inappropriate photos or video of unsuspecting Hoosiers in public places, according to State Sen. Tom Wyss (R-Fort Wayne).
Early last year, a Fort Wayne man was arrested after using a camera attached to his shoe to look up women’s skirts in the Castleton Mall on the northeast side of Indianapolis. Wyss said the man’s lawyer successfully argued that state statute says voyeurism is peeping in a dwelling, not peeping up a woman’s skirt in a public place.
Wyss, author of Senate Bill 19, said existing state law prohibits taking inappropriate photos of a person without his or her consent in a private place – bath, dressing room, restroom and shower – but provides no protection for public places and does not yet address Internet postings.
“I’ve crafted this measure to close the existing loophole in Indiana law and prevent criminals from taking obscene pictures or video of women and children in public places and escaping conviction,” Wyss said. “I am encouraged by the support for this bill in the Senate and look forward to working with members of the House of Representatives to help shepherd it through the legislative process.”
Wyss’ proposal would make it illegal to take indecent images of an unsuspecting person’s private area in public. This legislation – commonly referred to as the ‘upskirt’ ban – now moves to the House for further consideration.
“Advances in technology have led to smaller, more versatile cameras,” Wyss said. “It’s unfortunate that some people choose to use them in devious ways. Our state law needs to keep pace with technology and help protect innocent individuals from such acts in the future.”
Wyss said he first began work on the law after a 2009 incident in DeKalb County where the prosecution was unable to file a charge against the suspect, because the inappropriate photo of a 10-year old girl was taken in a public place.