(WOMENSENEWS)--Taking photos or video up a woman's skirt without her permission is not against the law, the Supreme Court in Washington state ruled last week.
The case involved two men, Sean Glas and Richard Sorrells, who shot photographs and videotape of the view up women and girls' skirts in public places. The men were arrested and charged with violating the state's law against voyeurism.
But the state's highest court unanimously ruled that, although the men had engaged in "disgusting and reprehensible behavior," they had not broken the voyeurism law, because it only covers situations in which people have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Glas took photos in a mall in Union Gap, Wash., and Sorrells taped his videos at a food festival in Seattle, which the court ruled are purely public places where people do not have an expectation of privacy.
Photos and videos taken up women's skirts are popular items on Internet porn sites. Glas had intended to sell his photos to such a Web site; Sorrells intended his video for private use.
In an unrelated case a year after his 1999 arrest for voyeurism, Glas was charged in Yakima County with second-degree child rape, which is rape of a victim age 12 or 13. He pleaded to third-degree rape (for victims age 14 or 15) and was sentenced to four years in prison.