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Local, state lawmakers hail passage of ‘Bianca’s Law’

Posted 6/3/22

An Assembly bill creating criminal and civil penalties for disseminating personal images has passed the State Assembly and Senate.

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Local, state lawmakers hail passage of ‘Bianca’s Law’


UTICA — Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy, announced that a bill she sponsored in the Assembly creating criminal and civil penalties for disseminating personal images has passed the State Assembly and Senate.

The bill was named for Bianca Devins, a 17-year-old Utica teen who was stabbed to death in July 2019 after attending an out-of-town concert with her attacker who took photographs of her body and posted them on social media.

“Almost three years ago, the life of 17-year-old Bianca Devins was cut short in a senseless act of violence,” said Buttenschon.

“Her tragic death was exploited for likes and follows after her attacker posted pictures of her body to various social media sites. Nobody should ever have to endure a trauma like this,” the assemblywoman said. “Those social media users who spread these types of photos and videos should face consequences. This bill creates consequences for this type of behavior, and it is very close to becoming law,” she said. 

After Devins’ attacker posted the photos online, other people began posting them to various social media platforms, as well as sending them directly to the victim’s family.

Buttenschon said the response to the spread of these photographs by social media sites, including Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, has been widely criticized as slow and inconsistent. 

“The Legislature provided some solace to two grieving families with the passage of ‘Bianca and Caroline’s’ law,” said Senator Diane Savino, D-Staten Island/Brooklyn, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. “These families faced the horror of the brutal murders of their young daughters only to endure further victimization when the images were shared on social media. We must make sure that our laws keep pace with evolving technology.” 

Savino continued, “Publishing trophy photos of a crime victim on Facebook is one of the cruelest things a person could do. Caroline Wimmer’s family suffered twice: first when the 26-year-old was brutally murdered and again when they learned pictures of this vicious crime were heartlessly plastered on Facebook for entertainment by a public servant.  

"I am proud Caroline’s family never gave up fighting for this important law. This problem has only grown since Caroline’s Law was first introduced and passed in the Senate and now we are joined by the grieving yet strong family of Bianca Devins, who have joined the fight to stop the dissemination of these images.”

Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, said he was pleased to co-sponsor the legislation.

“It will hold those who decide to share and disseminate gruesome, disturbing, and violent images online accountable and help to protect grieving families from experiencing the painful loss of their loved ones all over again,” said Griffo.

Buttenschon’s legislation would establish the crimes of unlawful dissemination of a personal image in the first and second degrees and create a right of private action for such offenses.

“These images have no place on the internet and social media, and those individuals who attempt to capitalize from disseminating gruesome or demeaning images should face consequences for the trauma they cause,” noted Buttenschon.


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