With the increasing acceptance of non-marital relationships, more people are sharing intimate details of their lives with others. Sexual partners have increased within the past fifty to sixty years, and with that come not only increased risk for sexual health but increased liability regarding sexual activity.
One common risk is the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). There may be a remedy if an injured person suspects that their sexual partner knew they had a disease. An injured person will likely be able to sue in civil court for negligence. The scope of the remedy will depend on the facts and whether the disease was recklessly spread. Punitive damages may be available in such as case. Each state is different in its treatment of the intentional transmission of STDs so it is best to consult with a local attorney for guidance.
Some states make distinctions based on the type of disease. In Illinois, the knowing transmission of HIV is a criminal offense. Penalties can include fines, probation, restitution, and even prison. Because it is a class II felony in Illinois, fines can be up to $25,000 and restitution can be imposed as a separate penalty from the fine. Prison or probation sentences can be from three to fourteen years.
Another issue is being secretly recorded or photographed while engaging in sexual activity with another. The proliferation of “revenge porn” has exacerbated the problem. If a person discovers they have been secretly recorded, they can sue civilly for the tort of invasion of privacy. The most likely claim will be the intrusion of solitude. With this type of privacy, a person needs to have intruded upon a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. It is pretty obvious that most people carry the expectation that their sexual encounters will be private.
Finally, someone’s reputation may be affected when a person reveals information about the sexual activity of another to the public. In the internet age, this is most likely to take place online via social media websites. This can result in a defamation lawsuit or in an invasion of privacy lawsuit with the disclosure of private facts. A defamation claim must show that the information was published, that an injury was caused (for example, a business reputation was ruined which resulted in a loss of business), and that the information was false. The disclosure of private facts, by contrast, requires the disclosure of outrageous or embarrassing private facts about an individual. These facts can be true, as the importance is placed on the expectation of the privacy of such facts. Truth is a defense to a defamation claim while consent is a defense to a disclosure of private facts claim.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If your intimate details have been exposed please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.