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Bill that would ban on sharing intimate photo evidence passes Legislature

(Utah State Capitol complex. Paul Nelson, file)

During the Lauren McCluskey murder investigation, a police officer showed intimate photo evidence in the case to other officers. That would now be a Class A misdemeanor under House Bill 59, which passed both houses of the Utah Legislature and is on its way to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The original draft of the bill would have only applied to police officers, but prosecutors and others urged the sponsor to broaden its application to anyone who has access to that evidence in the criminal justice system.

With that addition, Will Carlson with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office told the Senate committee the bill would increase trust in law enforcement.

“It is imperative that we treat that trust responsibly and that we only handle those pieces of evidence in a way that is necessary to pursue the criminal justice objectives,” Carlson said.

Democratic Rep. Andrew Stoddard, the bill sponsor, said he hopes it serves victims who might otherwise not report crimes.

“I think it’s a very pro-victim bill,” Stoddard told KSL Newsradio. “Hopefully, it will encourage and make victims feel more comfortable reporting these really personal crimes.”

HB59 passed both the Utah House and the Senate on unanimous votes.