Nebraska vs. Troy

Maurice Washington (28) charges towards the end zone during the game against Troy at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 15, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nebraska running back and California native Maurice Washington III was charged for the distribution of child pornography and sending “revenge porn,” a crime designated by a 2013 law.

According to Santa Clara County’s supervising deputy district attorney for sexual assault, Clarissa Hamilton, the first count forbids people from possessing a video or photo of anyone under 18 engaging in or simulating sexual acts.

Hamilton said the second, revenge pornography, is posting a photo or recording of a sexual act without the subject’s consent.

“It could be a child or adult,” Hamilton said. “It could mean a couple makes a sex video and one person posts it without consent.”

According to the Kraut Law Group, the California legislature passed this law in 2013 and is also known as “nonconsensual pornography.” The law criminalizes sending photos or videos of sex acts without the consent of the person in the photo or video.

The legal definition of revenge porn under California Penal Code Section 647(j)(4) PC identifies “any person who intentionally distributes the image of the intimate body part or body parts of another identifiable person, or an image of the person depicted engaged in an act of sexual intercourse” as someone guilty of a disorderly conduct offense, according to the Shouse California Law Group.

This law is among the many California computer crimes. It is a misdemeanor offense, where people convicted for their first offense can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the victim was a minor, however, the penalty can be increased to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Hamilton said the law is fairly broad.

“There is no requirement to prove revenge,” she said. “There is a host of reasons it could be posted.”

The law applies to situations when the person who distributed the image knew the image was intended to be private.

According to the Kraut Law Group, the person distributing the image “knows or should know that distribution of the image will cause serious emotional distress, and the person depicted suffers that distress.”

The law doesn’t apply in every case, and redistribution of the image doesn’t fall under revenge porn law. In this case, Washington was the alleged original distributor of the image.

She said Washington has many options regarding his future. Potential routes include up to three to six months in state prison or probation.

Probation would require cooperation between probation officers in California and Nebraska, since Washington allegedly sent the video to the victim, which is considered posting it.

“It doesn’t have to be posted on Facebook or sent to the National Inquirer,” Hamilton said. “It’s a lot worse if you put it out there.”

Hamilton said Washinton’s charges are common and believed they likely only made national headlines because of Washington’s connection to the Huskers.

“Football is important to you guys,” she said.

Nebraska currently does not have a “revenge porn” law on the books.

sports@dailynebraskan.com