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Should teen sexting be a felony?

The Internet is a part of most people's lives today. One age group who seems to be unable to function unless their hands, fingers and brains are working the buttons on a cellphone may quickly find themselves charged with a felony if they are sexting.

In Canon City, Colorado, earlier this year, more than 100 students traded nude photos of themselves using their cellphones. Colorado prosecutes sexting as a felony if the person taking a picture of him or herself is under 18. In addition, that person is also the victim of the crime. The district attorney in Canon City said that not all the students will face charges. In fact, there may not be any charges filed at all.

Producing or distributing sexually explicit images of a minor is a considered a Class 3 felony in our state. It has a penalty of four to 12 years, which simply possessing the same image can cost someone 12 to 18 months in prison as a Class 6 felony. Should someone possess 20 or more photos or a video, the charge is a Class 4 felony and two to six years in prison is the penalty. In addition, those people convicted of such crimes will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Some prosecutors have filed charges without restraint, such as one in North Carolina a couple of months ago. A 17-year-old boy was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor after he exchanged nude photos with his girlfriend.

If your child is facing charges for sexting, be sure to take those charges seriously. A felony conviction on a sex crime charge could result in lifetime consequences for your son or daughter.

Source: New York Post, "Do we really want to treat teen sexting as a felony?," Jacob Sullum, accessed Dec. 11, 2015

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