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“It’s urgent that we act on this matter:” State lawmaker hopes to make “upskirting” a felony

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MADISON (WITI) -- It is creepy -- but is it a crime to take pictures under a woman's skirt? A FOX6 Investigation recently exposed a loophole in Wisconsin law that could let perverts off the hook. Now, a Mequon lawmaker wants to close that loophole and make "upskirting" a felony.

Jesse Schmucker

Jesse Schmucker

"It's urgent that we act on this matter," Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) said.

As chairman of the state Assembly's powerful Judiciary Committee, Ott has placed the issue of upskirting on the top of his priority list. He represents Ozaukee County.

That's where Jesse Schmucker was caught taking pictures up a woman's skirt in the checkout line at a Grafton Pick 'N Save.

"I glanced over and he was just within inches of me.  Bent over with his phone underneath, between my legs underneath my skirt," the victim said.

In 2014, a jury found Schmucker guilty on a misdemeanor charge of attempting to capture an image of nudity. He's appealing that conviction -- arguing there was no nudity to capture because the victim was wearing underwear.

"I think that`s outrageous and absurd," Rep. Ott said.

Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol testified before the committee Thursday, January 8th that upskirting is a crime with long-lasting consequences.

"It was the behavior that should be punished -- not whether he was able to accomplish it. When I have spoken to victims who have had some unknown stranger stick an object up their skirt to take a picture of them, they are horrified. They are traumatized by that conduct. It's awful behavior and people should be punished accordingly," Gerol said.

Rep. Ott's bill would make it a Class I felony to take photos or videos under a person's clothing without their consent, regardless of what they're wearing underneath -- and this bill appears to be on the fast track.

Ott says he hopes to have the bill before the full Assembly by January 18th.

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