More Teen Sexting Leads to More Child Porn Charges - Law and Daily Life
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More Teen Sexting Leads to More Child Porn Charges

Perhaps it is foolish for anyone to be surprised that the combination of the internet, cell phone cameras and teenage hormones leads to naked pictures being sent back and forth.

The legal system is still trying to figure out what to do when teenagers send nude pictures of themselves to each other. Some call it child pornography, while others call it harmless flirting.

Susquenita High School, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is currently dealing with this situation after eight students between the ages of 13 and 17 were accused of using their cell phones to transmit nude photos of each other, including one that depicted a sex act. The teenagers now face felony child pornography charges.

It's not harmless flirting, says Perry County District Attorney Charles Chenot. "Take a photograph of yourself or somebody else nude and send it to somebody else, you've committed the crime."

Civil rights attorney Don Bailey, is skeptical as to whether sexting should even be a crime. "This is an over-zealous and inappropriate application of the criminal law," Bailey said.

Bailey's position is receiving some support from state legislators. "Kids should not be held under the same laws as child predators," House Representative Seth Grove said. He has authored a bill, which has already cleared the House Judiciary Committee, which would place limitation on the punishment for sexting.

Not everyone agrees. "...the potential is there for there to be widespread distribution," said Chenot. "What we have here is a case where technology has gotten ahead of the laws."

States will likely continue to wrestle with this issue as they try to balance the issues of youth, sex and technology. We will keep you posted on what becomes of the situation at Susquenita High and Representative Grove's bill.

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