The Monitor reports that a 17-year-old Texas boy is now facing child porn charges, after getting a 16-year-old friend to send him a topless photo of herself from her cell phone.
Child porn is a very VERY serious charge. Even those who themselves would never commit a sex act against an actual child still go to prison for a long time just for downloading pictures that may be more than a decade old. You don’t ever want to get charged with it. We defend people charged with it, we know of what we speak. (Heck, we wrote the book on it.)
So when this whole “sexting” thing hit the news in ’09, we posted a warning that teens might unwittingly be exposing themselves [Ed.- Was that necessary?] to criminal charges that are in many ways life-ending.
Fortunately, there are prosecutors and judges out there with good judgment, who won’t go after teens for stupid teenage indiscretion with other teens. But there are also school administrators who can get themselves in trouble for possessing the photos during their own investigations.
Will this kid wind up getting prosecuted? Who can say. It’s up to that local DA’s office. The feds probably won’t touch it, but state prosecutors typically only go after child porn cases that are too marginal for the feds in the first place.
What do you think, should existing child porn laws be modified so teens sharing each other’s photos won’t face prison? Is there an analogy to statutory rape schemes where teens are involved? We’re not talking about little kids here, so maybe there’s room for change. We’d like to hear what our readers think.