Governor signs voyeurism bill into law

Published: Apr. 24, 2015 at 12:48 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 24, 2015 at 1:19 AM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A bill filed by State Senator Joey Fillingane to protect the privacy of Mississippians is now state law.

Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill that was prompted by an incident last June at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“Just having that justice and seeing the governor sign that bill was justice in itself,” said victim Cabrini Marie Smith.

The law will make it a felony to invade the privacy of another person by photographing or video recording without that person's consent.

“She (Cabrini) called me and said, 'Hey, I have experienced this horrible situation,'” said Fillingane. “It is a problem in the law or a loop hole or just something that fell through.”

Former University of Southern Mississippi staff member Quandom Benn was sentenced recently to probation and suspended prison time for seven counts of disturbing the peace.

Fillingane said the law would not have passed without the help of Smith, who trusted him to change things.

“I think this was a situation where we were sort of behind with our law in technology, which is often the case and we had to play catch up,” said Fillingane.

With the new law in place, a conviction could lead to a maximum of five years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine.