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New Ga. bill to keep Peeping Toms out from under skirts

Shaw Blackmon, right, is sworn in Aug. 20, 2015, by Superior Court Judge George Nunn as the new District 146 represenative at Central Georgia Technical College. Blackmon has filed a bill that would make it clear that it’s illegal to take secret “upskirt” photos in Georgia.
Shaw Blackmon, right, is sworn in Aug. 20, 2015, by Superior Court Judge George Nunn as the new District 146 represenative at Central Georgia Technical College. Blackmon has filed a bill that would make it clear that it’s illegal to take secret “upskirt” photos in Georgia. bcabell@macon.com

A Houston County legislator has filed a bill to clarify that in Georgia it’s wrong to take secret pictures up women’s skirts.

“It’s something we all recognize as unacceptable behavior,” said state Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, sponsor of House Bill 9.

But this year, a Georgia court reversed the conviction of a man for one count of criminal invasion of privacy for what’s called “upskirting.” That man, Brandon Lee Gary, admitted to police about three years ago that he had secretly snapped cellphone videos up the skirt of a woman shopping at the Perry Parkway Publix, where he then worked. He was pretending to tie his shoes.

But the Georgia Court of Appeals said that, technically, Georgia laws guaranteeing privacy don’t apply to the space under peoples’ clothes.

“All this (bill) does is patch that up, allow this to be deemed criminal behavior,” Blackmon said.

The bill looks likely to have an easy passage through the state House when lawmakers meet early next year. When the court ruling came out, House Majority Leader David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said that if the state high court were to affirm it, he would expect legislation to address the issue. And the second signer on the bill is state Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, the chair of the committee that is likely to hear the bill.

Maggie Lee: @maggie_a_lee

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