After woman’s privacy was violated, video voyeurism penalty could get tougher under new bill

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom
Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book said the state needs to beef up its laws for video voyeurism.

A Broward County woman’s stepfather secretly installed miniature cameras inside her toilet and facing the mirror, so he could watch her most private movements.

Every day he repositioned the cameras, and by the end, he captured more than 8,000 hours of video footage over 344 days.

But when the man was caught, he got a slap on the wrist for his constant stealthy surveillance, one lawmaker said. He was charged with one count of video voyeurism and was sentenced to 344 days in the county jail plus three years of probation, according to a state lawmaker.

Now, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book says the state needs to beef up its laws.

SB 1604 makes many important changes to Florida’s voyeurism statute to ensure injustices like the one suffered by (the Broward County woman) does not happen again,” Book said during Thursday’s Fiscal Policy Committee hearing. “Most notably, the bill revises the penalty scheme for digital voyeurism offenses to more accurately reflect the severity of the crime.”

The Senate committee approved the bill unanimously Thursday with no debate after the bill cleared a Senate Criminal Justice hearing earlier this month.

The bill not only renames the crime from “video voyeurism” to “digital voyeurism” but would give State Attorneys the power to pursue additional charges and get tougher sentences for convictions.

“It ensures that each instance of videotaping, photographing and viewing of these materials are separate violations,” Book said.

That means if the law change had been in existence in 2020 and 2021 when the Broward County woman’s stepfather was secretly filming her and creating hundreds of screen shots and dozens of videos, the stepfather would have been charged with 835 counts of digital voyeurism instead of just one, Book said.

SB 1604 also sets lesser charges for minors who commit the crime. People under 19 years of age who commit digital voyeurism would be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor while someone 19 and older would face a third-degree felony. If that adult was in a position of trust or authority, such as the victim’s family member or faith leader, that charge would be elevated to a higher degree, according to the bill. For instance, the third-degree felony would become a second-degree felony.

Book has sought to help abuse victims and become an advocate after being sexually abused by her nanny as a child.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


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  • It's Complicated

    February 16, 2024 at 9:57 am

    SB1604 cleared its last Senate Committee stop on Thursday. The House version, HB1389, cleared all of its committees and is on the 2nd Reading Calendar. Both bills have received unanimous votes in every committee stop. Everyone agrees its a good fix. Safe bet this will become law.

    • Dont Say FLA

      February 29, 2024 at 9:23 am

      It’s a safe bet this will become law unless Florida’s G0P-TBT party gets Told By Trump not to make Democrat Lauren Book look good politically.

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Comments are closed.


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