‘Upskirting’ photo conviction upheld, State looks to strengthen law

The 2nd District Court of Appeals upheld the conviction Wednesday of a man charged with taking pictures up a woman’s skirt, which comes at a time when legislators in the state Senate debate further action against “upskirting.”

Upskirting is the act of taking revealing photos of a woman without her consent and is currently considered a misdemeanor invasion of privacy with sentences of up to nine months in jail.

A loophole in the current law allows for limited criminal charges if the victim is clothed. The case that was upheld Wednesday constitutes only a misdemeanor because the victim was wearing underwear. Jesse Schmucker, the man who took the photos, was convicted of two misdemeanors: disorderly conduct and attempting to capture an image of nudity, according to a report by the Associated Press.

In an attempt to close the current law’s loophole, the state Assembly passed a measure in January meant to strengthen laws against upskirting by making it a Class I felony, for which a conviction is punishable by up to three and a half years in prison.

Author of the bill, state Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, has asserted current laws are not sufficient because women can be traumatized from this type of incident. Other supporters of the bill point to the minimal charges offenders face after multiple arrests, the AP reported.

State Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, has made it clear other senators are concerned the bill to make upskirting a felony is too excessive.

The bill would have to pass through the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before becoming law.

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