The insanity of prosecuting sexting as child pornography

By Rory Fleming . . . In America, an 80-year-old man can have sex with a consenting 16-year-old without breaking the law in over half the states. But the possession by an 18-year-old of a digital image of a 17-year-old’s bare breast is considered by our legal system as the equivalent of setting off a nuclear bomb in a national park.

One reason: the evidence never completely goes away. Like some of the radioactive trace elements produced in nuclear fallout, computerized sexual images retain their poison for several lifetimes.

The courts have responded accordingly, with what sentencing guidelines consider an appropriate level of punishment.  If caught, the 18-year-old could face stiff state and federal penalties. Under the 2017 federal Protection Against Sexual Exploitation of Minors Act, a first offender who “knowingly” produces, or causes to be produced or transmitted, “a visual depiction of a minor engaged in any sexually explicit conduct” is subject to a mandatory-minimum prison sentence of 15 years.

And the penalty can be adjudicated long after the offense happened, since there are no statutes of limitations for “child pornography” on the federal level.

Perhaps worst of all, he could end up on the sex offender registry, labeled as a dangerous pedophile — in some states for life.

In 2016, Maine took a common-sense step towards changing the blunt approach that makes youthful indiscretions equivalent to the crimes of a child pornographer. It did so with bipartisan legislation that applied the same age limitations governing who can be prosecuted for sexual abuse of minors to “sexting” on the Internet—a behavior that  about one fourth of U.S. teenagers admit to doing.

Read the full piece here at The Crime Report.

 

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Timothy 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #53522 Reply
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    admin

    By Rory Fleming . . . In America, an 80-year-old man can have sex with a consenting 16-year-old without breaking the law in over half the states. But
    [See the full post at: The insanity of prosecuting sexting as child pornography]

  • #53524 Reply
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    Jim Chase

    In Indiana, you can be charged and presumably, convicted, of possession of child pornography even if the person in the photo/video is an adult because the way the statute reads, if the person in the photo/video “appears to be” a minor. This leaves it to the opinion of the police and prosecutor as to the appearance/age of the person in the photo/video.

    • #53578 Reply
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      d

      Yes, this is true Indiana has a real problem with the burden of proof shifting onto the defendant. In fact, Indiana prosecuted and convicted a man that had images of teenaged females taken in public without nudity, and not engaged in sexual acts with Attempted Child Exploitation. Even though the statute called for the sexual conduct by a child to be part of the equation. Here in Indiana, they ignore the word of law if it is inconvenient.

  • #53583 Reply
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    R M

    Americans have an issue with sex. I’m guessing it’s because a lot of Americans made laws that they don’t necessarily abide by. Want to hide your desire, ie crime? Accuse someone else of something just like it. This has been proven many times over in history within quite a few categories and at least 17 times in sex related crimes.

    Face it, people like sex. Not just for procreation but for pleasure too. OMG.

    Procreation continues the family and humanity.

    Orgasms feel good, yeah I said it…. doesn’t mean I want a child too.

    Put the two together and it’s wrong all of a sudden.

  • #53704 Reply
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    Saddles

    d, you make an excellent point. Course I don’t usually comment to a letter of the alphabet. Its almost like a “Whast my line” type of thing, Where the occupation could be “I’m a FBI drrector of conscience. All jokes asside you make a very good point and even the balancing of all this unethical encounter we all go or live thru to actually seek justice
    .
    Sure I didn’t have any graphic pictures of kids or nudes’ but when they said I want to get naughty, I gave them all the gusto in text. Actually I wondered why a teenage girl was on an adult site in the first place. All things come out in the wash and they gave me probation which I thought wasn’t really right as far as true justice goes so I’m glad NARSOL if putting up the fight for restroration and so are some of the sister orginazations also.

    Public Safety is one thing but trying one ethics is another. I wonder if they arrest kids for going to see movies with graphic scenes today or where is sensorship today must be undercover.

  • #53819 Reply
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    Bob

    I remember reading about a 16 year old girl who was charged with child porn for sending a picture of herself in her bra and panties to her boyfriend and yet she and girls younger than her can go to any beach or swimming pool wearing bikinis and it’s perfectly legal. How does that make sense

  • #54290 Reply
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    Timothy

    The great moral purge is well under way. Brought on through the advent of the electronic database and internet infrastructure some looked to capitalize on the technical abilities and uses of each to secure political advantage. Information is power. The people presume information data stored upon databases about bad actors will promote good behavior and prevent attack. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the databases and internet infrastructure embraced by the people have exacerbated social crimes. I see attacks posted daily on the internet. Murders on live stream have occured. In reality “Social Media” is as much “Antisocial media”. The big data brokers, internet service providers, and content providers tend to play down the anti-social aspects and their implications for society whole. It is in their financial interests to do so. Consider Facebook’s TOS as proof enough that freedom of speech itself is under attack.

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