A mother was sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for two years, after sending sexually explicit photographs of her daughter and her boyfriend to a relative and their friends in an attempt to “save her daughter from going down the wrong path.”
The daughter, surnamed Chen (陳), was an outstanding graduate of a medical school in northern Taiwan and her boyfriend, surnamed Wang (王), was the bass player of an underground indie band.
In April last year, the mother, surnamed Chuang (莊), was using her daughter’s computer, which had been left switched on and unattended, when she discovered several sexually explicit photos of her daughter and her boyfriend, the court statement read.
Upset, Chuang made copies of the photographs and e-mailed them to Wang.
She also printed out the photographs and sent them to Wang’s father, a university professor, Wang’s fellow band members, her daughter and her daughter’s friends, the statement said.
Chen was infuriated when she received the photos and took her mother to court.
Chuang was charged with violating Article 359 of the Criminal Code and spreading obscene material.
Article 359 states that a person who, without justifiable reasons, obtains, deletes or alters the magnetic record of another’s computer or related equipment and causes injury to another person may be sent to prison for up to five years.
Copying the photographs constituted a serious invasion of her daughter’s privacy and distributing them caused the young couple deep psychological distress and compromised their reputation, prosecutors said.
In her defense, Chuang told the court that she thought Wang must be “sick” to have asked her daughter to imitate the poses of adult film stars and she hoped that by sending the photographs to Wang’s father, he would remonstrate with his son.
Chuang added that she sent the photographs to the couple’s friends hoping that they would dissuade the couple from taking “inappropriate photographs.”
“I only resorted to such a parenting method [spreading the photos] because my daughter has a strong personality and I don’t know how to talk to her,” Chuang was quoted as saying in court, adding that she was merely fulfilling her duty as a mother.
However, Chen described her mother’s actions as “outrageous” and urged the judge to give her a severe sentence.
In rendering the verdict, the court said that it took into consideration that Chuang’s actions were motivated by her concern that her daughter might go down the wrong path, and gave her a suspended sentence.
When reached for comment on Tuesday, Chuang said she “loves her daughter wholeheartedly” and hoped she could understand her feelings as a mother.
Chuang added that she had only sent photographs of Wang and had digitally covered his private parts.
Commenting on the case, Teacher Chang Foundation secretary-general Wang Hsin-tung (王信東) described the mother’s actions as unwise and destructive.
“When communicating with their children, parents should maintain an open mind and treat them with respect .... because family [relationships] are not only built on reason and the law, but require sensitivity and compassion,” Wang Hsin-tung said.
He said Chuang could try to mend her relationship with her daughter by seeking professional help or the assistance of a third party, such as relatives.
Additional reporting by Yang Chiu-ying