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Teen "Sexters" Facing Child Porn Charges

A new phenomena being labeled "sexting" is erupting in the United States and abroad, and it's putting unwitting teens at risk of life changing consequences.

It usually starts with a nude photo of an underage girlfriend or boyfriend, typically under the umbrella of the perceived safety of a relationship.  When things go sour however, the no holds barred drama of high school relationships sometimes bring the imagery out and into a more public light.  

For those that take nude photographs while in their high school relationships, the risks are immense.  Risks like felony charges with potential jail time, permanent registration and exposure as a sexual predator, and the shame of facing such serious charges before adulthood even begins.

According to a recent article published by the Sun-Sentinel, the number of incidents of teens being charged with child pornography related felonies is on the rise.  In one case covered by the story, a Phillip Alpert sent nude photographs taken of his then 16-year-old girlfriend to others after a breakup.  Just three days later, authorities arrested him with charges of transmitting child pornography.  Alpert avoided jailtime for his crime, but is now under five years of probation and must register as a sex offender until he turns 43.

Teen girls face the same risks, even if the pictures are taken of themselves in the nude.  In one recent case just last month, a 15-year-old girl in Pennsylvania was charged with creating child pornography after sending inappropriate images to a 27-year-old on MySpace. 

With the law blind to young love and a national study showing that up to 20% of teens have been photographed either nude or semi-nude, the risks are immense for both teen boys and girls alike.  The number of teens facing charges is expected to increase significantly over time as technology like digital cameras and camera phones continue to infiltrate teen life.

Perhaps it is time for parents to add another chapter to the story of the birds and the bees.

  • sezyboy
    wow, lets just get everybody on the sex offender list. Very productive.
    Reply
  • fuser
    Yeah, before long being a 'sex offender' will be mainstream. Soccer moms will be bragging about it to each other while their kids play out on the field.
    Reply
  • tenor77
    It's a very bad idea to trivialize the sex offender title. Is this behavior wrong? Yes, but to put them in the same category as other people on the list is stupid.
    Reply
  • martin0642
    Or perhaps it's time for the legislature to do their job and properly design laws to avoid this kind of stupidity. These laws were intended to protect children from adult predators, and instead they are ruining the lives of children who are exploring their own sexuality in a modern form.

    This is a clear failure on the part of police and local authorities to stand up for what's right, and handle this discreetly and professionally. Furthermore, puberty exists for a reason, it signals the readiness for sexual development, whether "society" agrees with it or not is not relevant.

    If your 18, you can shack up with an 85 year old man and that's fine, but if your 16 you can't shack up with your 17 year old boyfriend? This is what happens when politicians let uneducated fear mongering parents guide laws. Stop demonizing sex, and if you feel the court absolutely MUST stick it's nose into our bedrooms then at least do it with enough foresight to avoid this kind of stupidity.

    This is not the first time this has happened, and I have still seen no lawmaker stand on the side of reality and responsibility and try to get more intelligent and better designed laws on the books to prevent these kids from being labeled perverts for 40 years just because they happened to be born in the camera-phone age.

    Lets try leaving it up to parents to raise their kids for once.
    Reply
  • neodawg
    why did i almost get an AV2009 malware install going to this page???
    wth THG!!
    +1 to martin
    Reply
  • Tindytim
    I see this all the time. People break up, so one person decides to post all of their naked pictures on 4chan.

    And I have to agree that the laws haven't caught up with the technology. But the fact of the matter is, an 18 year old can be sent to prison for having sex with a 17 year old, simply because on is legally a minor and the other isn't. There are some states with smarter laws about those types of relationships, but there are others that don't. The fact of the matter is, it's not just the fact that the laws aren't up to date with technology, many of the laws aren't up to date with society.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    +1 to martin
    Reply
  • skine
    Throughout most of the US, the legal age of consent is 16, it's 7 in seven states, and 18 in twelve.

    Most states have basic ranges within which sexual activity is allowed.

    Please know the laws in your state before complaining about them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_North_America#United_States
    Reply
  • truehighroller
    @ neodawg

    I told them in this post, http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/53260-1-virus. No one has acted like they give a hoot, no response sorry nothing. The company that is handing us off to their toms guide articles "middle man" has infected servers.

    Any way back to the thing that matters "I say this in accordance to the no replys to the my post about me getting almost infected".


    This is our tax money hard at work at destroying our kids futures assuring we can never live off of them when we get old and gray because who really wants to hire a sex offender after all? It makes my stomach turn it really does and the sad thing is, is that there are other laws out there and biost that are just as bad as this one. This is only scratching the surface of the issues with the law system today..
    Reply
  • skine
    Sorry, that should be 17 in seven states, not 7.
    Reply