'Invasion of Privacy' codes needs to be changed: Letter

'Invasion of Privacy' codes needs to be changed: Letter

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With the start of a new legislative session, I am calling on Iowa legislators to change the "Invasion of Privacy" code in Iowa to better protect victims of peeping toms.

The "Invasion of Privacy" code in Iowa requires an extremely limiting burden of proof for victims. If a perpetrator is convicted under this section, it must be proved 1) that their victim was at least partially nude at the time of viewing and 2) that the perpetrator was aroused by viewing them. It is simply not a crime in Iowa just to be viewing someone without their consent in a space where privacy is reasonably assumed unless these two elements are present.

Briefly, here are a few examples of where that burden of proof hurts victims. In 2015, a Des Moines police officer was relieved of charges after being caught spying on female co-workers in their locker room because it could not be proved whether the women were at least partially nude while being viewed. The 2019 case of an employer videotaping his employee while she was breastpumping is ongoing and the victim faces a burden of proof trying to provide evidence that the employer was aroused. Without proving this, he will be found "not guilty."

The "Invasion of Privacy" code in Iowa needs to be changed to remove these archaic requirements or victims will continue to face an overwhelming burden when seeking justice in their cases. That is why I am calling on all of our legislators in Iowa to change Code 709.21 this legislative session. Please contact them to request the same.

Ruth Lapointe, Clear Lake

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