Madison man charged for distributing a private image without consent under new state law

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Matthew Reyes (Photo: Huntsville Police Department)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Police are starting to enforce a new state law, distributing a private image without permission, and report that they have already made an arrest.

The Huntsville Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit arrested 27-year-old Matthew Reyes of Madison for violating the new law and charged him with Distribution of a Private Image, according to a Huntsville Police Department news release.

Investigators say Reyes posted pictures of the victim online without their consent.  Investigators determined that Reyes posted the pictures in an attempt to harass the victim, which violates the law, the news release said.

The law was enacted on August 1, 2017, as part of Act 2017-414.  The portion of the law which Reyes was charged with reads in part as follows:

Distribution of a Private Image occurs when:

  • A person knowingly distributes a private image with the intent to harass, threaten, coerce, or intimidate the person depicted;
  • The person depicted did not consent to the transmission;
  • The person depicted had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Investigators say Reyes is the first person in Madison County to be charged under this new law, and possibly one of the first in the state.  They hope it serves as a warning to others who may think of posting private images of other people online without their consent.

The charge is a misdemeanor.

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