Peeping Toms are charged under Maryland’s criminal law against visual surveillance with prurient intent.
The law prohibits the use of electronic devices to secretly watch someone for sexual purposes--without their consent--in a place where privacy is expected.
Private places are defined as areas where a person “can reasonably be expected to fully or partially disrobe” in a private room within an office, hotel, restaurant or school, for instance.
Anyone who watches an unsuspecting person using a camera, a mirror, or even in plain sight, faces a misdemeanor charge with up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $2,500.
"It’s more common than people think," said Lisae C. Jordan, Esq., Executive Director & Counsel at the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Jordan said incidents continue to take place, especially as camera technology gets smaller and more sophisticated.
The experience can take its toll on victims.
"Many survivors feel quite violated and unsettled about their privacy, and uncomfortable in public places," Jordan said.
Jordan advises victims to contact their local rape crisis center by calling 211, or by visiting www.casa.org.