LANSING, Mich., March 29, 2022 — Yesterday, state Rep. Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Township) introduced House Bill 5986, which would define and establish penalties for digital indecent exposure in Michigan’s Penal Code. As the law stands today, indecent exposure must have occurred in person for it to be considered a crime.

“For better or for worse, technology has become an essential part of our society, but our laws haven’t kept up with this change,” Sowerby said. “Receiving unwanted, sexually explicit pictures is a violation that often goes unchecked. If lewd messages continue after an individual has made it clear that such behavior is unwelcome, prosecutors should have the tools they need to effectively punish the offender.”

This legislation would make it a misdemeanor for an individual to knowingly send a sexually explicit image or video after being told to stop. If they continue to send lewd content after being told it is unwanted, they will be subject to these penalties.