Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rethinking Sex Offender Laws for Youth Texting

In most states, teenagers who send or receive sexually explicit photographs by cellphone or computer — known as “sexting” — have risked felony child pornography charges and being listed on a sex offender registry for decades to come.

Last year, Nebraska, Utah and Vermont changed their laws to reduce penalties for teenagers who engage in such activities, and this year, according to the National Council on State Legislatures, 14 more states are considering legislation that would treat young people who engage in sexting differently from adult pornographers and sexual predators.

And on Wednesday, the first federal appellate opinion in a sexting case recognized that a prosecutor had gone too far in trying to enforce adult moral standards.


Several states are looking at this issue. Watch this CNN interview  and gauge the overreaction by prosecutors to this issue. The ramifications of this policy are immense - is this the kind of person we want to punish as a sex offender? The more we move in this direction, the greater the likelihood that serious sex offenders will evade detection and monitoring.

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