After a teenage girl was faced with charges of child pornography, for sending out nude pictures of herself, Ohio lawmakers are looking into a new law that specifically addresses the growing issue of “sexting.”
To avoid a potential life sentence and being required to register as a sex offender, merely for sending a picture of herself to boys she was dating, prosecutors offered the girl a deal wherein she pleaded guilty to “contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”
If that last paragraph sounds messed up to you, Ohio’s legislature agrees with you.
The state is looking into a new law that would confirm that the act of underage “sexting,” AKA kids sending nude pictures of themselves through their cell phones or computers, is illegal. However, it would separate it as a completely different crime than an adult who sends out nude pictures of other people.
“These are not people with a sickness in their head. These are children who are doing something that is stupid and wrong,” said Warren County Prosecutor’s office spokesperson Matt Nolan, in a Dayton Daily News interview.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing on May 13 in front of the state’s House Public Safety Committee. At least 14 other states are currently hammering away at similar legislation.
Opponents of the bill, though few and far between, argue that the current legal system is fine. The possibility of an adult felony charge is intimidating enough to make teenagers learn their lesson, and no sexting fiend has actually been charged with a felony, at least not yet.
But the majority opinion seems to be that legal workarounds can’t last forever, and the sexting issue is here to stay. That is reason enough for the statutes to be updated.