Unsolicited penis photos land UK man behind bars in first cyberflashing case

In a historic first, an English court has sentenced a man to prison for sending unwanted penis photos online. The convicted offender, 39-year-old Nicholas Hawkes, will serve 66 weeks for sending graphic images of his genitals to a 15-year-old girl and an adult woman in early February.

The incidents occurred just days after England and Wales criminalized cyberflashing in the Online Safety Act, which took effect on January 31st.

From Dazed:

Specifically, Hawkes sent photos of his erect penis to the pair on February 9. The woman took screenshots via WhatsApp and reported the man to Essex police the same day.

At a hearing at Southend Magistrates' Court on February 12, Hawkes pleaded guilty to the two counts of "sending a photograph or film of genitals to cause alarm, distress, or humiliation". This falls under the recent cyberflashing law, which includes images sent on social media and dating apps, or via Airdrop or Bluetooth.

"The Crown Prosecution Service has delivered the first conviction for cyberflashing, but it will not be the last," said Deputy Chief Prosecutor Hannah von Dadelszen, urging other victims to come forward. Under UK law, those who report cyberflashing are guaranteed lifelong anonymity.

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