DC sextortion bill: Legislation proposed to make sextortion a crime in Washington, DC

Newly proposed legislation would make sextortion a criminal act in the District.

The Sexual Extortion Amendment Act of 2017, proposed by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine, would expand the District's definition of extortion to include sextortion.

Currently, D.C. does not have a law that specifically covers sextortion, which is when someone obtains sexually explicit images of a person and threatens to release them unless their demands are met.

"Sextortion is a terrible form of blackmail that gives sexual predators power over their victims - especially children," Racine said in a written statement. "This law will give us more tools to stop traffickers and other sexual predators from victimizing our kids."

Racine said DC's revenge porn law makes it illegal to distribute sexually explicit images without consent, but that the law only applies when a person actually shares or distributes the images.

When the images are not distributed, but only used to threaten the victim, Racine said often the suspect is charged with a lesser crime.