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Revenge porn bill heads to governor's desk

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A bill that would make "revenge porn" illegal in Florida is one step away from becoming a law.

It recently passed the State Senate and House of Representatives and now, if Gov. Rick Scott signs it, it will be a law.

That would make it illegal to post or spread explicit pictures of someone else without their consent.

Carly Hellstrom really has her whole life ahead of her. She graduates from Florida State University Saturday and is excited about what's to come.

But she said her future was put in danger after her ex-boyfriend allegedly posted a nude picture of her online, though the IP address of where the photo was posted from couldn't be confirmed.

"No one wants to admit that you sent a naked picture," Hellstrom said.

Hellstrom is speaking out about a mistake she made when she was an 18-year-old freshman at FSU when she texted racy pics to a student she briefly dated.

"I broke up with him and we kind of just cut ties, and three years later he came into my bar on a Monday night and accused me of overcharging him and losing his debit card. The next morning a nude photo of me was on the Internet.

Carly said that in a matter of a few days it had over 100,000 views and it was the first thing you saw when you Googled my name for the past year," Hellstrom said.

She said it was humiliating and hurtful and that's why she's been a bigger supporter of the bill. To make sharing explicit pictures of someone else, without their approval, is against the law.

If the governor signs off, it'll be a first degree misdemeanor the first time, and a felony for repeat offenders.

Representative Tom Goodson sponsored the house bill.

"I believe very much in the first amendment and freedom of expression. I do not believe in harassment, or hurting, or the danger of ruining somebody's life just because you fell out of love.

"It was unbearable for a really long time," Hellstrom said.

Hellstrom used an attorney to get her pictures off the web and she hopes the law, and her horror story, can make people think twice.

"If you can't see your parents opening it up in an envelope delivered to their house, of a nude photo of yourself, don't take it. If you can't imagine the worst possible case scenario like mine, having over 100,000 creeps see my naked body, if you can't imagine that and bear that, then don't do it, don't risk it," Hellstrom said.

Hellstrom said there's a long way to go and she hopes that lawmakers will make revenge porn an even worse crime in the future, but for now, she calls this a success. She said she's going to continue to advocate and educate so no one else has to go through what she went through.

For now, Hellstrom, a communications major from Gainesville said her ex-boyfriend was charged with cyberstalking in relation to the incident. Hellstrom and her attorney agreed to drop the charges if he was able to reach out to all the websites where her photos were posted and make them remove them.