An Ohio priest praised a proposed state law to criminalize the nonconsensual publishing of sexual videos or photos, known as “revenge porn.” Monsignor John Zuraw, chancellor of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, told CNA that he believes the legislation would help protect the dignity of Ohio’s residents. “When we look at that idea of what porn is all about, porn promotes harmful and destructive views of the human person,” said Monsignor Ziraw. “Revenge porn laws protect the dignity of the human person.”
Introduced to the Ohio Senate on January 25, the bill was sponsored by Senator Joe Schiavoni, who had unsuccessfully introduced similar legislation in 2016. The bill has now gained support from members of the Aurora police force, including Chief Bryan Byard and Detective Sgt. Dan Kalk. The bill would provide “compensatory and punitive damages for harm resulting from the violation” and a “temporary restraining order prohibiting further dissemination of the image.”
According to Record-Courier, Detective Kalk, who is also an attorney, helped craft the bill after Aurora authorities struggled to find a charge for alleged offenders of revenge porn. He said the bill would help clarify which jurisdiction should investigate or prosecute a specific crime, which can be unclear if a perpetrator is in a different city from where the victim lives.
Monsignor Zuraw explained that all pornography “debases the human person,” but said that revenge porn adds an additional dimension of harm. “When we move into…revenge porn, there are two aspects there: it is the pornography that promotes harmful and destructive views of the human person, but then that whole aspect of revenge that I’m getting back at you because you didn’t do what you should be doing for me.”
Monsignor Zuraw emphasized that human sexuality is an extension of God’s goodness, but must be seen in the context of God’s creation. “When God created each every one of us, he created our sexuality as an aspect of what is good. We should never lose sight of what God has created and ultimately what is good is to benefit us in ways that are not selfish.”
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