- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) - A Utah man charged in a case that spurred lawmakers to revise state law against so-called revenge porn pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony counts of distributing pornographic material.

Shon Handrahan, 31, told a judge in Farmington that he decided to accept a plea deal offered by prosecutors. He didn’t say anything at the hearing other than telling the judge he understood the agreement, and he declined to comment outside court.

Authorities accused Handrahan of sending nude pictures of his estranged wife to her acquaintances in 2012.

He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of electronic communication harassment. Five other counts were dismissed.

Davis County prosecutor Nathan Lyon said the victim was supportive of the deal, which prosecutors considered fair and equitable. The victim, Handrahan’s ex-wife, was in favor of resolving the case, which became difficult for her as it received public attention and media coverage.

“It’s embarrassing to have very intimate pictures sent to your family members,” Lyon said.

Sentencing is set for March 17. It remains to be seen if Handrahan will get jail time, Lyon said. Both felony counts carry up to five years in prison.

The case helped lead Utah lawmakers to pass a bill that forbids the sharing of images without the consent of the person pictured. A first offense is a misdemeanor, and repeat offenses are felonies.

Handrahan was charged before the new law took effect, under old statutes.

Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Salt Lake City, pushed for the law, saying the practice most often targets women and can cause some to lose their jobs.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says 13 states including Utah have passed laws to punish “revenge porn” in the past two years.

Arizona’s law, passed last year, was put on hold by a federal judge in November after a civil rights groups sued on constitutional grounds. The Arizona lawmaker who sponsored that bill has introduced a new version.

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