Gov. Andrew Cuomo will pursue tougher laws to crack down on sexual extortion and "revenge porn" in 2018. 

The latest plank of the governor's State of the State agenda would create four new crimes, including first-, second- and third-degree sexual extortion. 

A third-degree sexual extortion charge, a class E felony, would apply if a person forces another to engage in sex acts or expose intimate body parts with the intent of damaging the victim's health or reputation if they fail to comply. If convicted on this charge, the defendant would face up to four years in prison. 

The second-degree sexual extortion charge would apply in cases involving victims between the ages of 15 and 17. A conviction could result in a seven-year prison sentence. 

The most severe penalty would be for a first-degree sexual extortion charge. This charge would be used in cases involving victims under the age of 15. If convicted, defendants would receive up to 15 years in prison. 

The fourth new crime Cuomo wants to establish is unlawful publication of sexual images. This class A misdemeanor offense would be applied if an individual intends to cause harm by publishing images of "intimate sexual nature" or compelling another person to "engage in conduct by threatening to disseminate images of an intimate sexual nature." 

The unlawful publication of sexual images charge would aim to crack down on "revenge porn," which has targeted mostly young girls and women. A conviction on this charge could result in a one-year jail sentence or three years of probation. 

Anyone convicted of sexual extortion or unlawful publication of sexual images would be required to register as a sex offender. 

"The dangerous proliferation of sextortion and revenge crimes disproportionately targets young women and girls and causes harm and embarrassment that can follow victims their entire lives," Cuomo said. "This new legislation outlaws this horrific, exploitive practice once and for all in New York and will help provide New Yorkers with peace of mind both on and offline." 

With the rise of social media and technology, sexual extortion cases have exploded. A Brookings Institute report released in 2016 found 71 percent of sexual extortion victims were under the age of 18. Most of the victims were young women. 

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been tracking sexual extortion since 2013. The number of "sextortion" cases reported between 2014 and 2015 rose by 90 percent, according to the center. 

Cuomo's proposals are part of his 2018 State of the State agenda. He will deliver the annual address Jan. 3 in Albany. 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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