State Law Doesn't Prohibit Peeking Cameras


Wednesday, March 12th 2008, 1:51 pm
By: News On 6


It is perfectly legal to take a picture up a woman's skirt or down her blouse.  Oklahoma's Court of Criminal Appeals ruled this week the state's peeping tom law does not make what's known as "upskirting" against the law.  News On 6's crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports many people feel it is outrageous that it's not illegal to take a picture up a woman's skirt.

The issue is the wording of the current law; it focuses on where you are instead of what's being photographed.

When The News On 6 first did this story last year, upset legislators contacted us, promising to change the wording, but no one did.  Now, a Tulsa lawmaker is trying to do just that.

The reason anyone can take a picture up a girl or woman's skirt and not worry about being breaking the law is because of the way the current peeping tom law is worded.  It says no one can take a lewd picture of you without your consent if you're in a place where you have an expectation of privacy, like bathrooms and changing rooms.

But, this case is about a 16-year-old girl who was in a public place:  a Target store.  The man used a digital camera to take a picture up her skirt, was arrested and sent to trial.  The judge reluctantly threw out the case because the victim was in public, not a place one can expect privacy.

The district attorney appealed and the appeals court agreed with the judge.  The DA's office wants the law changed to protect girls and women from this type of potentially perverted behavior.

"I have a 16-year-old girl and what if she was in a Target or Wal-Mart doing what girls do and some pervert took a picture up her skirt and can get away with it," said Assistant District Attorney Steve Kunsweiler.

One appeals judge agrees.  He says when we put on clothing, we expect those areas covered to be private.  He says the decision by his fellow judges "makes it open season for peeping toms in public places who want to look under a woman's dress."

"I think reality is today and I hate to say it, but women need to wear pants wherever they go, until we get this addressed," said Assistant District Attorney Steve Kunsweiler.

Tulsa legislator Pam Peterson is trying to fix the wording.

Her bill says no one can secretly photograph the private area of a person without their permission if that private area isn't visible to the public, regardless of if that person is in a public or private place.   

Peterson's bill makes upskirting a misdemeanor and, if it passes, it would begin in November.

Prosecutors say the best way to fix the loophole in the current law, is to let state lawmakers know you support this bill.

Editor's Note:  The Web Extra containing the Peeping Tom Law has the legislation as it was approved by lawmakers.  The underlined text includes the changes being recommended for the measure.

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