State obscenity laws that criminalize the sending of child porn by electronic means often don’t differentiate between children and adults. A minor who sends a picture of herself to a boyfriend can be prosecuted under child porn laws. Adults who send nude pictures of themselves to another adult are, of course, protected under the First Amendment. Not so with minors who are not accorded those same free speech rights.
Texas is one such state trying to introduce a new perversion twist to this situation. Rather than having to charge minors with a felony for sexting, they are considering a new option. From Chron:
Instead of sending young people to jail for sexting, judges under Senate Bill 407 would be authorized to sentence minors — and one of the minor’s parents — to participate in an education program about sexting’s consequences.
Who better to train parents on how to raise their children than the state, right? I guess, given the choice between spending the rest of your life as a registered sex offender or a re-education program, the latter option probably seems pretty attractive, although the kid is probably not entirely sold on the idea that he did anything wrong to begin with (precisely the kind of attitude that is remedied by a state re-education program).
The attorney general’s office quoted a 2008 report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy indicating that 22 percent of teen girls said they have electronically sent or posted online nude or semi-nude images of themselves.
If you’re criminalizing an activity that almost a quarter of minors are guilty of, it’s only a matter of time before 60 Minutes does a segment about how your state is cranking out felon sex offenders by the boat load. Destroying kids’ lives is one thing, but embarrassing the state is another.
Of course, the concept of not prosecuting kids for non-crimes is not even on the radar of these morons.
Under current Texas law, minors charged with sexting face a third-degree felony, penalties of two to 10 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000 and lifelong registration as sex offenders.
Other states are addressing the same issue:
Watson’s bill is similar to recent legislation in Vermont, Illinois, Utah and Ohio that seeks to ease sexting penalties and prevent young people from getting caught up in the criminal system.
Back in April I posted about legislation in Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia that provides for a lesser charges in the case of minors who send nude pictures of themselves to friends, thereby committing the terrible crime of child abuse where they are both the predator and the victim. Sheesh! Regardless of whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, it’s pretty clear that the real source of the abuse these kids face is at the hands of their own state governments.