Vermont v. VanBurenAnnotate this Case
Defendant Rebekah VanBuren raised a facial challenge to Vermont's "revenge porn" (disclosure of nonconsensual pornography) statute. Vermont’s law, enacted in 2015, makes it a crime punishable by not more than two years’ imprisonment and a fine of $2,000 or both to “knowingly disclose a visual image of an identifiable person who is nude or who is engaged in sexual conduct, without his or her consent, with the intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the person depicted, and the disclosure would cause a reasonable person to suffer harm.” The law makes clear that “[c]onsent to recording of the visual image does not, by itself, constitute consent for disclosure of the image.” The images at issue here were sent privately to a man using Facebook Messenger. Defendant described herself as the man's girlfriend. The complainant stated that the night before the pictures were publicly posted, she learned through a friend that defendant had been asking about her. The man denied a relationship with defendant, "[defendant] was obsessed with him." The complainant discovered the pictures on the man's Facebook page. A judge found probable cause for the charge against Defendant. Defendant moved to dismiss, arguing the revenge porn statute violated her First Amendment rights. The Vermont Supreme Court concluded the statute was constitutional, granted the State's petition for extraordinary relief, and remanded this matter for further proceedings.